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Mid-air explosion rocked crashed plane

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FUNERAL attendants carry the remains of one of the passengers of the ill-fated air ambulance. AFP Photo

The plane which crashed Sunday in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna – killing at least nine people — darted out of the clouds, sputtered, fell out of the sky and exploded in a ball of fire and smoke.

Norman Capuchino, 33, manager of the Yahweh Spring Resort also in Pansol, told the Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview what transpired before he shot the viral video of the plane moments before its death plunge.

“We were fixing the CCTV on the rooftop of the resort. Then we heard the sound of a plane in distress, like it was having engine trouble,” he narrated.

Witness account: Pilot seemed trying to regain control

“We watched it for a few minutes with the pilot seemingly trying to regain control of the aircraft. After that, there was an explosion on the side of the plane and parts flew off it,” Capuchino added.

It was at that point that Capuchino said he took out his mobile phone and started shooting the video of the plane going down in smoke.


In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the plane was a BE350 medical evacuation plane, registry number RP-C2296, with seven registered passengers, a pilot and a co-pilot.

The fatalities were identified by authorities as pilot Capt. Jesus Hernandez, co-pilot First Officer Lino Cruz Jr., Dr. Garret Garcia, nurses Kirk Eoin Badilla and Yamato Togawa, Ryx Gil Laput, Raymond Bulacja, patient Tom Carr and his wife Irma.

Nine bodies recovered from air ambulance

A report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted local emergency official Jeffrey Rodriguez as saying that nine bodies had been found and that it was believed all people onboard were killed, including a patient attended to by a medical team, the pilot and co-pilot.

“No one will survive this crash. We assume that all confirmed passengers of this plane are dead,” Rodriguez told AFP. At least two others on the ground were injured, according to the police.

The plane crashed at the Agojo private resort in Purok 6, Miramonte Subdivision, located in Barangay Pansol in Calamba at past 3 p.m.

CAAP lost radar contact with it 25 nautical miles from Manila. The plane came from the Dipolog Airport in Zamboanga del Norte.

Capuchino told the Daily Tribune it was him who was heard on the video exclaiming in dismay as the plane crashed.

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