Members of the MIAA Fire and Rescue team secure the charred Lionair aircraft (WW24 aircraft) after it burst into flames before taking off at the runway 24 of the NAIAon Sunday night.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
NAIA runway reopens hours after medevac plane accident
( - March 30, 2020 - 11:21am

MANILA, Philippines — The runway of Manila’s international airport reopened early Monday, hours after a Tokyo-bound aircraft caught fire at 8 p.m. of Sunday, March 29.

News5 quoted Civil Aviation Authority Spokesperson Eric Apolonio as saying in a radio interview that the airport’s runway was re-opened at 5 a.m. and normal operations have since resumed.

This was after authorities have cleared debris of Lionair RPC5880 that caught fire as it was about to take off on a medical evacuation flight, killing eight people onboard.

The MIAA, in an advisory to reporters, has confirmed the accident, which it said happened at the end of the airport's Runway 24. 

The runway closure affected a Korean Airlines flight that was diverted to Clark International Airport.

Investigation is ongoing. “We’re still trying to determine what [caused] the accident, it will take some time to complete it,” Apolinario was also quoted as saying.

"Immediately after the incident, the MIAA Fire and Rescue team were dispatched to the site to douse the flames with chemical foam," MIAA said in its advisory.

Aircraft that burned was ‘airworthy’

Captain Don Mendoza, CAAP Deputy Director General, in a late night briefing Sunday, said that the aircraft is deemed “airworthy.”

“Licenses of the pilots are current and it’s a Westwind aircraft. It’s a corporate jet performing a medevac from Manila to Haneda [Japan],” he said.

According to the Lionair website, its Westwind II can accommodate seven passengers in executive seats. It can also be configured as an air ambulance, with space for a patient, two or three members of a medical team, and one or two relatives.

Mendoza also confirmed that the aircraft was being used to transport medical supplies .

Lionair fleet may be grounded

In the same press conference, Mendoza said that they may order Lionair aircrafts grounded due to the incident.

He noted that Lionair was also the operator of the plane that crashed in Laguna, in September last year. All nine passengers and flight crew also perished from the incident.

“Right now the initial step that we are looking into at is grounding the whole fleet,” Mendoza said.

“We are looking into the records deeply of this unfortunate event that happened to Lionair,” he also said adding that the authorities will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. — Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 23, 2020 - 9:57am

Seven people have been tragically killed as their plane plummeted into a house in Bulacan.

Retrieval operation is ongoing. 

FULL STORY: 7 dead as small plane crashes in Bulacan residential area

May 23, 2020 - 9:57am

According to the health ministry toll, 97 dead and 2 survived from Pakistan plane crash.

March 29, 2020 - 9:11pm

An aircraft caught on fire at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport late Sunday. The plane is reportedly an ambulance aircraft carrying medical supplies.

According to a source, LionAir RPC5880 had eight people on board: Six Filipino crew members and two passengers. The passengers were a Canadian and an American.

The aircraft—according to its registration number, an IAI 1124A Westwind II—was headed to Tokyo International Airport. 

According to the LionAir website, its Westwind II can accomodate seven passengers in executive seats. It can also be configured as an air ambulance, with space for a patient, two or three members of a medical team, and one or two relatives.

January 27, 2020 - 6:14pm

A plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province Monday, officials say, but it was not immediately clear how many people were on board, or if it was a passenger or military jet.

"At around 1:10 pm (0840 GMT) a plane crashed in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province. The plane is on fire and the villagers are trying to put it out. We still don't know if it is a military or commercial plane," Aref Noori, Ghazni's governor's spokesman, tells AFP. 

 — AFP

January 11, 2020 - 5:54pm

A news organization reports that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the truth be told after learning that a Ukrainian passenger jet had been mistakenly shot down, Fars news agency reported Saturday.

Fars news agency says it had learned that "as soon as the supreme leader was informed of the catastrophic mistake" on Friday, he ordered that the outcome of investigations "be made known to the people explicitly and honestly". — AFP

January 11, 2020 - 3:17pm

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says closure and accountability were needed after Iran said it had unintentionally shot down a Ukranian plane, killing 176 people.

He also demands "transparency, and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims," of whom many were Canadian dual nationals.

"This is a national tragedy, and all Canadians are mourning together," Trudeau's office says in a statement. — AFP

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