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9 killed in Philippines plane crash
COTABATO CITY, Philippines, Jan 28 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Jan. 2010 12:47 AM IST
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An Air Force general and eight other people were killed when a military Nomad plane crashed into a residential area here before noon Thursday, authorities said. Mayor Muslimin Sema said the Nomad plane crashed into at least two houses in Barangay Rosary Heights here around 11:35 a.m., killing all eight passengers, including Maj. Gen. Mario Lacson of the 3rd Air Division based in Zamboanga City. A resident of one of the houses, identified by the police as Angelina Mondrano, 36, was killed when the plane crashed into their house. Anoher resident, Shiela Gumitom, was injured, Sema said. Gumitom said she heard a loud noise before the plane hit her house. Sema said a firefighter, who was helping put out the fire caused by the crash, was also injured. He said the plane had just taken off from the Cotabato Airport (also known as Awang Airport) in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao when it crashed. “As it took off, the plane suddenly nose-dived and hit residential areas,” Sema, quoting witnesses, told reporters. Guiamad Adam, city fire chief, said the two houses that the plane crashed into caught fire. He said based on initial investigation, the plane carried two women and six men. “All of them were in fatigue uniform,” Adam said. Col. Rozzano Briguez, commander of the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group 11 based in Davao City, said the Nomad plane had come from Davao early morning Thursday and made a stopover at the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. It was being piloted by Capt. Genaro Gaylord Ordonio, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 2000 and 1Lt. Angelica Valdez of the PMA Class 2006. Lt. Col. Gerold Gagan, deputy commander of the Tactical Operations Group 11 in Davao City, said the Nomad plane arrived in Davao on Wednesday for a command conference. “They flew out of Davao around 9:05 a.m. (Thursday) after an RON (rest overnight) here,” Gagan told the INQUIRER by phone. Listed on the plane’s manifest were Lacson, Maj. Prisco Tacuboy, Lt. Alexander Ian Lipait, SSgt. Ronaldo Mejia, SSgt. Ianne Christy Marose Llamera and S/Sgt. Jeffrey Gozon. Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Lacson and his party were on their way to Zamboanga City. “The plane crashed two minutes after takeoff,” Cabangbang said by phone. Maj. Gen. Carlix Donila, commander of the 5053rd Search and Rescue Squadron based in Davao City, said moments before the crash the “pilot made a call (to the Cotabato airport tower) and he said ‘power loss.’” Sema said based on witnesses’ account, the plane was trying to land again at the airport after takeoff and appeared to be having “some trouble.” “It was flying in zigzag mode and crashed,” Sema said. Edgar Campos, one of those who witnessed the crash, said he first noticed the aircraft flying very low. “I thought it would swerve toward the chapel, but it tilted toward the urban poor area, hit the roof of a house and exploded,” Campos, speaking in the vernacular, said. Campos said the gray-colored plane had been engulfed in flames. Irene Tuga, a sidewalk vendor near Rosary Heights 8, said she thought the plane was just gliding near the village. “We normally see Air Force planes fly over the city,” she said. Tuga said the explosion was so loud “we even heard the explosion here about three kilometers away.” Sema, who was among those who rushed to the crash site which is about a kilometer away from the Cotabato City hall in Barangay Malagapas, said it was the first crash in the city in years. “We are saddened by this incident, we condole with the family of the ... Air Force men,” he said.

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