Philippines' worst commercial flight disasters

(The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2014 - 3:34pm

MANILA, Philippines - With the Philippines as an archipelago, traveling from one place would usually entail crossing bodies of water, and while the nation has suffered some of the world's worst maritime disasters, it also has its share of aviation accidents.

Here we list down commercial flight disasters with fatalities of at least 10 persons in the Philippines (data from www.aviation-safety.net):

1. PI-CP8 (May 7, 1949) - A Philippine Airlines flight bound for Manila from Daet, Camarines Norte crashed into the sea as a "time-bomb had been placed aboard the aircraft by two ex-convicts. Ten passengers and the three crewmembers died when the DC-3 plane crashed.

2. PI-C270 (March 30, 1952) - The DC-3 of PAL crashed upon takeoff from the Baguio-Loakan Airport, killing 10 passengers and crewmembers our of 29 who occupied the plane.

3. PI-C294   (Jan. 14, 1954) -  The PAL DC-6 was on its way from Manila to London and stopped at Beirut. Upon approaching Rome at 6,500 feet the pilot lost control of the plane, causing it to crash and killing all 16 passengers and crewmembers.

4. PI-C133  (Nov. 23, 1960) - The PAL DC-3C departed Iloilo  for Manila on November 23, 1960 at 5;30 p.m., and its last position was reported by the crew at 6:33 p.m. The plane's wreckage was found on Nov. 30, 1960 on the eastern slope of Mount Baco or 32 miles west of the airway. All 33 passengers and crewmembers of the plane perished. It was eventually ruled that the probable cause of the accident was a navigational error.

5. PI-C126 (Dec. 22, 1960) - Twentyeight of the 37 passengers and crewmembers died when the DC-3C of PAL crashed some 2.5 miles  upon takeoff from the runway of Cebu Airport. It was reported that the number 1 engine of the plane failed after takeoff. The plane was bound for Davao Airport.

6. PI-C489 (March 2, 1963) - All 27 passengers and crewmmebers died when the PAL DC-3 crashed into Mount Boca at  3,000 feet, 50 miles southeast of Davao.  The plane took off from the Cotabato-Awang Airport and was headed for the Davao City-Francisco Bangoy International Airport.  The probable cause of the accident was "navigational error."

7. PI-C97 (Feb. 21, 1964)  - Of the 32 occupants of the plane, only one survived the crash of PAL DC-3. The plane took off from Malabang Airport at 3:40 p.m. and was bound for the Iligan-Maria Cristina Airport. The plane lost control when the weather turned from bad to worse. After the pilot requested the Iligan weather, the DC-3 struck a clump of trees on a ridge at 2,700 feet.

8. PI-C51 (May 20, 1964) - Eleven people died when the PAL DHC-3 Otter crashed. It is believed that the pilot of the plane, which took off from Siocon Airport and was headed for Zamboanga Airport, continued to fly despite the unfavorable weather over the jagged shoreline with practically zero visibility owing to heavy rain.

9. PI-C17 (June 29, 1966) - Only two of the 28 occupants of the plane survived when it crashed into a ravine of the northern slope of Mount Rabañgan.  The PAL DC-3 took off from Mamburao Airport and was bound for San Jose Airport. The probable cause of the accident was the "misjudgement of the terrain clearance of which resulted (in) the collision with trees."

10. PI-C501 (Feb. 28, 1967) - Twelve persons out of 19 occupants perished when the PAL Fokker F-27 Friendship 100 crashed 1.5 kilometer away from the Mactan Island-Chicago Naval Air Base. The plane departed from Manila and was on its final approach when the pilot lost control at low altitude.

11. PI-C527 (July 6, 1967) - All 21 passengers and crewmembers died when the PAL Fokker F-27 Friendship 100 crashed into a mountain. The plane took off from Bacolod Airport and was on its way to Mactan Island-Chicago Naval Air Base .

12. PI-C1131 (Sept. 12, 1969) - Only two of the 47 passengers and crewmembers survived the crash of the PAL BAC One-Eleven 402AP when it struck a hill in suburban Antipolo at 760 feet during a runway approach. The plane took off from Cebu Airport and was bound for the Manila International Airport.

13. PI-C1022 (Apr. 21, 1970) - All 36 occupants of the PAL HS-748-209 died when the plane was enroute from Cauayan to Manila at 10,500 feet when an explosion occurred in the lavatory. The tail section separated and the aircraft crashed.

14. RP-C1028 (Feb. 3, 1975) - After two minutes upon take-off from  Manila runway, the PAL HS 748-226 reported that its number 2 engine was on fire. The flight was cleared for a runway approach, but crashed in a rice field. All 33 passengers and crewmembers died.

15. RP-C1161 (May 23, 1976) - It was reported that the PAL BAC One-Eleven was hijacked by six Muslim rebels and was forced to land at Zamboanga. The rebels demanded $375,000 and a plane to fly them to Libya. When security forces tried to storm the plane, a gun battle ensued. The rebels then set off some grenades, killing 10 passengers and three hijackers. The remaining three hijackers were caught and 75  passengers and crewmembers were rescued. 

16. PR206 (June 26, 1987) - The plane took off from Manila on a domestic flight to Baguio. Weather was poor as the HS-748 approached Baguio, causing it to fly into the side of 2,100- meter high Mount Ugo.  All 50 passengers and crewmembers died.

17. PR443 (Dec. 13, 1987) - The plane departed Cebu and was bound for Iligan. The PAL Shorts 360-300 crashed into Mount Munay, a 5,000-foot high mountain. Fifteen persons were killed.

18. Cebu Pacific Flight 387  (Feb. 2, 1998) - The second-worst commercial flight disaster of the country with 104 passengers and crewmembers perishing when the the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 hit Mount Balacutan. The plane departed Manila at 9:16 a.m. and was on its way to Cagayan de Oro.

The flight made an unscheduled stop at Tacloban at 9:53 a.m. to deliver spare tires for a Cebu Pacific plane that was  stranded at Tacloban. After nine minutes, the plane flew again for Cagayan de Oro. Last radio contact was at 10:48 a.m. while flying over Claveria.

Local residents reported that they have heard an explosion near the 8,200-foot high Mount Balacutan.

19. Air Philippines 541 (Apr. 19, 2000) - Considered the country's worst disaster, the Boeing 737-200 crashed into a coconut plantation in the hills of Samal Island.

The accident led to the death of all 131 passengers and crew on board. The plane took off from Manila and was bound for Davao City.

The plane, reports said, was flying too low.


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