By Martin A. Sadongdong
The light airplane which crashed in Plaridel, Bulacan was bound for a maintenance check flight in Batanes province before the fatal accident that killed 10 people, authorities bared yesterday.
The Bulacan Police Provincial Office (PPO) said that they were still conducting a follow up investigation to verify why the Piper Lance2 PA-32-300 aircraft crashed as witnesses have different versions of what happened before the crash.
However, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesperson Eric Apolonio bared that the aircraft was supposed to fly to Batanes for a maintenance check flight after its intended ferry flight to Laoag Airport in Ilocos Norte.
“After its ferry flight to Laoag, it’s supposed to go to Itbayat in Batanes for a check flight, meaning to have its maintenance check or to check on other aircrafts.”
“Maaaring mag-u-undergo ng maintenance check (It probably is going to have a maintenance check) but the CAAP approved its flight because the plane was good to go, otherwise it will not allow the plane to fly if there are problems,” Apolonio assured.
That is why, Apolonio said, two CAAP teams have been tasked to investigate the matter, the CAAP-Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AIIB) and the CAAP-Flight Safety Inspectorate Service (FSIS).
One month probe
He said the CAAP-AIIB will focus on the “accident investigation” or matters on the accident itself, while the CAAP-FSIS will check on the technicalities of the aircraft including the aircraft’s air worthiness, the pilot’s condition, and the maintenance of the plane.
He assured that they would be in close coordination with the Bulacan police on the investigation but said that it might take one month before the result of the investigation comes out.
“We have to cross-check the results from the AIIB and FSIS and from there, we will determine what exactly was the reason why the plane crashed. Is it human error, mechanical or the weather itself?” Apolonio said.
Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, provincial director of Bulacan PPO, said that all 10 bodies have been retrieved by the police response team but some of it might be subjected to DNA testing because of the severity of the burns. This is to ensure that the bodies will be correctly sent to the grieving families.
The six-seater, single-engine aircraft crash landed upon takeoff from Plaridel Airport at 11:21 a.m.
It landed on a residential area in Purok 3, Brgy. Lumangbayan, Plaridel, Bulacan where a family of five was reportedly having lunch.
Caramat confirmed the identities of the casualties as Captain Ruel Meloria, Romeo Huenda, chief mechanic, Alicia Necesario, Maria Vera Pagaduan, and Nelson Melgar.
Also killed on the spot were Risa Dela Rosa, her mother Louisa Santos, 80, and children John John, 17, Timothy, 11, and Trish, 7.
Caramat said Risa’s husband, Noel, personally confirmed the names of his family who were killed in the accident.