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Eight dead in medical evacuation plane crash in Philippines


Aircraft was taking off from airport when it burst into flames and crashed

A CHARTERED medical evacuation flight crashed during take off in the Philippines on Sunday, killing eight people, including a Canadian and an American, airport officials said.

The West Wind 24 aircraft was taking off from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport when it burst into flames and crashed, the Manila International Airport Authority said in a statement.

“The flight, which was on a med-evac mission to Haneda, Japan, was carrying two passengers and six crew members. Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the statement said.

The two passengers were a 63-year-old Canadian man and a 58-year-old Filipino-American woman, while the six Filipinos were three pilots, a flight mechanic, a doctor and a nurse.

It was unclear if one or both passengers were being evacuated for treatment and what their condition was.

“There was no confirmation nor denial about the situation of the passenger,” Ed Monreal, MIAA general manager, said, when asked if the evacuation was related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Don Mendoza, deputy director general for operations of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said investigators were still determining what caused the accident.

“The aircraft is airworthy and the licences of the pilots are current,” he said. “Just yesterday, it was in Iloilo (province) to bring medical supplies and then it went back to Manila safely.”

The plane was operated by Lionair Incorporated, a charter flight operator in Manila, which was also the operator of a Beechcraft BE-350 plane that crashed during a med-evac flight in September 2019.

Nine people, including a couple from New Zealand and a Japanese nurse, were killed in the crash in Laguna province, just south of Manila.

Mendoza said Lionair’s fleet was being grounded due to the crash, adding, “It’s quite alarming, but we are looking into the records. Definitely, we’ll have a thorough investigation into this.”


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