Aviation News

December 10, 2011

Small Cargo Plane Crashes Into Homes and School in Manila, Killing 13

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At least 13 people were killed early Saturday afternoon when a small cargo plane crashed into a slum area in the Philippine capital of Manila, officials said. Dozens of homes were destroyed.

The accident happened at around 2:30 p.m. local time when a Beechcraft Queen Air plane crashed in a residential area in the Better Living Subdivision in Parañaque, a city which is part of Metro Manila. The aircraft had just taken off from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital.

Emergency officials said the aircraft, which was carrying a pilot, a co-pilot and one passenger, struck several shanties and an empty school building as it went down. A fire spread rapidly at the scene, engulfing at least 50 and as many as 70 houses nearby.

A Red Cross spokesperson confirmed at least 13 people had been killed, including a child and the three people on board the plane, although some media reports later said the death toll had risen to 14. Fifteen people were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

“Most of the victims were children who were playing and some residents doing their daily chores,” Mayor Florencio Bernabe was quoted as saying by the Philippine Star. He said the number of casualties could still rise as victims were taken to numerous hospitals.

Ramon Gutierrez, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said the plane would have been carrying a full tank of fuel when it crashed. He said the pilot had requested an ‘emergency re-landing’ in Manila shortly after take-off.

Aviation officials said the crashed plane, which was owned by Aviation Technology Innovations (ATI), was scheduled to pick up cargo in the municipality of San Jose on Mindoro Island. It was not immediately known what may have caused the accident.

The crash and resulting fire has left at least 600 people homeless. The Red Cross said it will serve hot meals and distribute relief items to some 47 families who have sought refuge at their First Aid station and welfare desk.

The country’s deadliest aviation accident in history happened in April 2000 when Air Philippines flight 541 crashed while preparing to land at Davao International Airport in Davao City, which is located on Mindanao Island. A total of 131 people were killed.