A medical evacuation plane operated by Lionair of the Philippines has exploded during take-off at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport on Sunday evening.
The Westwind Agusta WW24 aircraft with registration RPC5880 was taking off for Tokyo’s Hanneda Airport with 8 people onboard, reports indicate the aircraft exploded into flames killing all 8 onboard. Those who died were an American national, a Canadian national, a flight medic, a nurse and doctor, along with three flight crew.
Investigation on the incident is still ongoing, but an initial statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the aircraft reportedly encountered a technical problem while rolling for takeoff on Runway 06/24. The MIAA said the accident happened at the end of the runway as the aircraft was taking off. The MIAA said its fire and rescue team was immediately dispatched to extinguish the flames that engulfed the plane.
CAAP Deputy Director General Don Mendoza said the aircraft, operated by Lionair, is air-worthy and that its pilot’s licenses are current.
Mendoza also confirmed that the same aircraft was also used to ferry medical equipment to Iloilo on Saturday.
Mendoza also said they are looking into the possibility of grounding Lionair’s whole fleet, as it also operated another medical evacuation aircraft which crashed in Calamba last September 2019.
“Right now the initial step that we are looking into is grounding the whole fleet. It’s quite alarming, but we are looking into the records of this unfortunate event that happened to Lionair,” Mendoza said.
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