8 dead as medical evacuation plane crashes during takeoff at NAIA

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – All 8 people aboard a medical evacuation plane were killed in a crash during takeoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening, March 29.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement that the incident "happened at the end of Runway 24 while the aircraft was taking off" at around 8 pm.

The plane, with registry number RP-C5880 and operated by local firm Lionair, was bound for Haneda Airport in Japan. It was engulfed in flames.

"Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident," MIAA said.

On Twitter, Senator Richard Gordon said those aboard included a flight medic, nurse, doctor, 3 flight crew, and a patient and the patient's companion.

Authorities said in a press briefing late Sunday that 6 Filipinos and 2 foreigners – a Canadian and an American – were aboard the plane.

Their names cannot be disclosed yet, according to authorities.

MIAA said its fire and rescue team was immediately dispatched to the site after the crash "to douse the flames with chemical foam."

The fire was put out by 9:02 pm, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Another Lionair crash

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Deputy Director Don Mendoza said in the press briefing that the aircraft was "airworthy" and that the pilot's license was current.

But he said CAAP would consider grounding Lionair's planes, since this is the second fatal incident involving the company in nearly 7 months.

On September 1, 2019, a medical evacuation plane also operated by Lionair crashed in Laguna, killing all 9 people aboard.

"We are looking into grounding the whole fleet because it's quite alarming," Mendoza said.

"Definitely, we will have a thorough investigation into this and we will advise the operator of the steps to be taken."

Mendoza also said the plane that crashed on Sunday had been used to ferry medical supplies to Iloilo on Saturday, March 28.

The NAIA runway was closed following the incident. MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said the runway is expected to open early Monday, March 30. – Rappler.com