Medical evacuation plane crash in the Philippines

Updated: Apr 1

A Philippines-registered aircraft carrying medical equipment and supplies crashed during takeoff at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday.

A photo from the crash site provided by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Media Affairs Office.

The aircraft bearing the registration RP-C5880, a twin-jet IAI 1124A Westwind II plane owned by a Philippine-registered charter service, Lionair, was bound for Tokyo Haneda, Japan with eight passengers and crew on board. The aircraft burst into flames at the end of the runway at Manila NAIA. All eight passengers perished in this accident.

Those who died were an American national, a Canadian national, a flight medic, nurse, a doctor and three flight crew, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal confirmed.

In a press conference at MIAA, Deputy Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Capt. Don Mendoza, said according to reports from Manila Tower, they were alarmed that for the aircraft's size, it took them some time to take off.

An initial statement from the CAAP said the aircraft reportedly encountered a technical problem while rolling for takeoff on Runway 06/24.

Video footage of the crash showed a huge plume of smoke rising as fire crews doused the fuselage with foam. The runway was closed and an incoming Korean Air flight was diverted to Clark Airport.

After the crash occurred, Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air issued a statement making it clear that they are unrelated to Manila-based Lionair.

CAAP also made their decision to ground Lionair's entire fleet while investigations are ongoing after this accident. This is the airline's second accident within 6 months. Last September, a medical evacuation flight operated by Lionair crashed in Calamba, Laguna.

Capt. Don Mendoza said: "It's quite alarming, but we're looking into the records of this unfortunate event that happened to Lionair. Definitely, we'll have a thorough investigation."

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