14 people die in plane crash

Fourteen people, including three children, died when a light airplane crashed Saturday into a school building in Parañaque City after its pilot requested an emergency landing shortly after takeoff.

Mayor Florencio Bernabe said the incident occurred in Better Living Subdivision, Taiwan St. in Don Bosco village.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the five-seater Beechcraft Queen Air 65-A80 crashed around 2:10 p.m.

All five people onboard the plane died, with two of the fatalities identified as Captain Timoteo Aldo (pilot) and Jessie Kim Lustica (co-pilot). A third fatality, a passenger, was identified as Julius Dorado, said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

The plane burst into flames after hitting the F. Serrano Elementary School on Annex 35 Lower Taiwan, Dona Soledad Ext., Don Bosco village, Bernabe said.

The fire, which was put out around 4:30 p.m. or about three hours after the incident, burned an estimated 20 to 50 shanties made of light materials. Parts of the F. Serrano Elementary School were also damaged.

Around 10 people are still being treated for burns at the Parañaque Doctors Hospital, said Pang.

They are Mary Rose Sabidura, 14 years old; Mark Ryan Sabidura, 12; Madrid Rensel Sabidura, 10; Roldan Sabidura, 6; Emelita Abrece 12; Melvin Nolasco, 8; Edna Bigay, 47; Kevin John Molina, 11; Rodelyn Molina, 5; and Ricky Buton, 30.

“Five had major burns while five got minor burns in their bodies. Among those rushed to the hospital, three are adults and seven are children. Six are males and four are females,” Pang told Sun.Star.

“The pilot and the co-pilot were still on seatbelt inside the plane (when found dead inside),” Paranaque City police investigation section head Enrique Sy said.

The rest of the fatalities were informal settlers whose shanties were hit by the ill-fated plane as it hit the ground, Sy added. Among those who died were three children.

Pang said around 70 families have been evacuated and are temporarily housed at the Annex 35 covered court in Better Living Subdivision.

Assisted by Red Cross volunteers and village officials, each affected family reportedly received three kilos of rice, sachets of sugar, coffee and milk, pair of slippers, blanket, towel, and shirt.

Initial damage estimate from the city’s fire bureau was placed at P6 million.

Ramon Gutierrez, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said in a separate interview that the plane was on its way back to the airport when the crash happened, possibly due to mechanical trouble.

Civil Aviation Authority chief Ramon Gutierrez said the plane sent out a distress call shortly after taking off from Manila for Mindoro Island. The plane crashed before it was able to return to the airport.

The plane, owned by Aviation Technology Innovators, had the tail number RPC-824 and sporting the color black gray.

Unverified reports said the plane was commissioned in September 1976.

An accident involving the same twin-engine plane also occurred during an approach to Malone-Dufort Airport in New York on June 5, 1998. The five passengers were hurt during the crash, according to website Aviation Safety Network (ASN).

On line since January 1996, the ASN covers accidents and safety issues with regard to airliners, military transport planes and corporate jets.



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