Businessman Levy Laus of the LausGroup of Companies, along with two companions–pilot Everette Coronel and companion Wilfran Esteban–died as the helicopter they were in crashed into a fishpond earlier today, at around 12:30 PM, in Barangay Anilao in Malolos, Bulacan.
According to SunStar.com.ph, an eyewitness identified as Jonald Borlongan said he noticed that the helicopter was already malfunctioning while in the air as it was seen emitting a thick smoke trail. As it was about to make an emergency landing in the area, parts of the chopper, including its main rotor, reportedly started falling until it crashed into the fishpond.
“Pagbagsak nung helicopter, tumakbo kami agad pero di kami makalapit kasi baka sumabog. Pero nung nakita namin okay na, nakita namin lumutang na agad iyong dalawang pasahero. Iyong isa may tama sa ulo, sa sentido (After the crash, we rushed to check, but we cannot go near as it might explode. We then saw the two passengers; one of them had a wound in the head),” Borlongan said.
The report added that the helicopter, which was owned by Laus, left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) general aviation area at 12:28 PM for San Fernando City in Pampanga.
The city of San Fernando has been the LausGroup’s base of operations since it started in 1978. From a dealership that only had three cars on display, Laus built his company into what it now calls as “the largest multi-brand dealership network in the Philippines” with over 55 dealerships in Metro Manila and Central and Northern Luzon. The group currently is the dealer of automobile brands like Mitsubishi, Ford, Kia, Chevrolet, BMW, Hyundai, Mazda, Suzuki, Haima, Nissan, Volkswagen, Jeep, and Peugeot.
Beyond cars, the LausGroup also has truck and bus dealerships for Fuso and Hyundai as well as motorcycle dealerships in BMW Motorrad and Piaggio APE.
Below is the official statement released by the LausGroup of Companies.
It is with great sorrow that the Laus Family and LausGroup of Companies (LGC) announce the tragic loss of our patriarch and esteemed Chairman and CEO, Liberato “Levy” P. Laus. He was 68.
Levy to family and friends, LPL to colleagues and associates, he was a visionary and leader who championed countryside development with such idealistic and vigorous zeal. He made and left an ingrained mark in the automotive industry as well as the lives of numerous partners he inspired and encouraged, family and friends he loved and cherished, and clients he served and helped.
His untimely passing unfortunately came at a time when he was looking forward to greater things, not only for the LGC, but also for the whole province of Pampanga, especially his beloved city of San Fernando.
He unfailingly demonstrated the exceptional values in business, integrity and compassion in all his work. His enthusiasm, quick wit and endless charm will inspire and stay with us always. He will be remembered for his love of and dedication to the LGC as a group of companies, as a brand, as a family. He will be greatly missed.
We request that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made and donated to the Levy P. Laus Foundation, Inc.