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Palace pushes fireblast probe

Francis Wakefield

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Malacañang on Monday called for a thorough investigation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) mishap on Sunday night when a medical evacuation plane caught fire and exploded before it could take off.

Not one of the plane’s eight passengers survived.

Chief presidential Legal Counsel and spokesman Salvador Panelo also called on government agencies to undertake measures in securing the safety of private aircrafts as well as their passengers and crew.

He also extended the Palace’s deepest sympathies to the families of those who perished as a result of the incident.

“We are so sad that a plane crashed last night, taking the lives of the eight persons on board,” Panelo said in a statement.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the grieving families of those who perished in the crash.”

“There must be a thorough investigation of the incident and the concerned government agencies must undertake measures to secure the safety of private aircrafts as well as their passengers and crew,” he reiterated.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) officials relayed that the accident involving a West Wind 24 aircraft operated by Lionair Inc. transpired at the end of NAIA Runway 6/ 24.

The flight RPCC5880 bound for Haneda, Japan, was carrying two pilots, one crew, one nurse, one flight medical crew, one doctor, one patient and the patient’s assistant. Sources said the patient was a 63-year-old Canadian, accompanied by a Filipina.

The MIAA Fire and Rescue team declared a fire out at 9:02 p.m.

The runway was temporarily closed as of press time as the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines investigated the crash site.

The aircraft, a model IAI1124A Westwind, was reportedly one of the planes being used by the Department of Health to pick up and deliver medical supplies all over the country.

It was on a private mission when it crashed.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said there was no indication that the medical evacuation was COVID-19 related.

Monreal confirmed that Lionair Inc. was also the operator of another medical evacuation plane that crashed in September last year in Laguna.

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