No foul play in Robredo plane crash - CAAP official
MANILA, Philippines - There was no foul play in the plane crash that killed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo last August 18.
This was the testimony of an official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which is investigating the crash into Masbate waters, before the Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on Monday, September 10.
"It is established that there is no foul play. It is an accident…Maybe it was an accident waiting to happen,” said CAAP Deputy Director General Capt. John Andrews, citing initial results of the probe on the plane crash, which also killed the aircraft's two pilots.
Andrews also stressed that they have ruled out any issues involving Nepalese Kshitiz Chand, a student pilot who was not authorized to fly the aircraft.
“He (Chand) never touched the controls. He was seated on the right seat. Capt. (Jessup) Bahinting was on the left seat,” Andrews said.
Bahinting owned Aviatour, the company that offers inter-island chartered flight services, which Robredo tapped for his flight home to Naga from Cebu.
Andrews said the agency's investigators are also looking at engine failure as a possible reason for the crash. He said they will check each part of the engine of the ill-fated 6-seater Piper Seneca plane to determine if the crash was due to technical or mechanical problem.
“That is the only issue I think that we’re going to be concentrating on now - why the engine quit,” the official said.
Previously, CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III dismissed speculations that diluted aviation fuel was used by the plane, causing the fatal crash.
The plane wreckage arrived in Manila from Masbate airport on September 6. Four crates contained the fuselage, 2 wings and engines and other pieces of RP-C4431 recovered from the crash site, located about 800 meters off the shore of Masbate.
A 5-man Special Investigation Committee formed by CAAP is currently inspecting the wreckage, which is now at CAAP's office in Pasay City.
The team is composed of aviation industry experts headed by Capt. Amado Soliman, chief of the CAAP accident investigation board, as well as representatives from the general aviation, military and airline sectors. The committee is tasked to conduct a “comprehensive and exhaustive” probe into the crash. - Rappler.com
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