Philippines plane crash kills 131 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 04:54 GMT 05:54 UK Philippines plane crash kills 131

An Air Philippines passenger plane has crashed on Samal island in the southern Philippines, killing all 131 people on board.

"The wreckage has been located. There were no survivors," Air Transportation Office chief Jacinto Ortega said.

The Boeing 737-200, which was flying from Manila to Davao, disappeared from airport radar screens shortly before the scheduled landing time.

The Philippines President, Joseph Estrada, ordered Transportation Secretary Vicente Rivera to fly to Davao to oversee the recovery of the victims' bodies and to investigate the cause of the accident.

Fair weather

An Air Philippines official said the plane, manufactured 22 years ago, was carrying 124 passengers - including four babies - six crew and one mechanic.

Mr Ortega said the weather was fair, the visibility was good and there were no immediate details of what caused the crash.

The plane, flight number 541, reportedly circled Davao before crashing, said Defence Secretary Orlando Mercado.

Transportation Under-secretary Willy Evangelista said it appeared the landing manoeuvre had been hampered by low-lying clouds.


An airline official said the plane had been given its normal maintenance check before taking off, and no abnormalities were found.

On 7 December a twin-engine plane slammed into the hills in the northern part of the country killing all 17 people aboard.

A year earlier, a Cebu Pacific DC-9 jet crashed near the top of a fog-shrouded mountain in the southern Philippines, killing all 104 people aboard in the country's worst air disaster.

-- Rachel Gibson (, April 19, 2000


Manila Times


"Residents of the island (Davao), a popular tourist destination, claimed a puff of smoke rose came from the plane midair. There were conflicting reports of when the explosion took place, with some saying it came while Flight 541 was still airborne and others claiming it occurred on impact."


"While Santelis and Air Philippine officials said the crew did not report any problem. Other airport staff, however, claimed the pilot had informed the tower that one of his engines was sputtering."


-- Rachel Gibson (, April 19, 2000.

This story just gets more and more bizarre!

From The NY Times (4/25/00):

Philippine Air Controllers Suspended

Authorities have suspended three air traffic controllers who were on duty when an Air Philippines plane crashed outside southern Davao city last week, killing all 131 people aboard.

Air Transportation Office chief Jacinto Ortega summoned the three to Manila while the crash is investigated. "They will not perform active air traffic control work pending the result of the investigation," Ortega said today.

From The Philippine Daily Inquirer (4/25/00):

Pilot raged at tower over late abort order

Flight 541 senior pilot Estraton Viluzmino Catipay cursed air traffic controllers moments before the plane slammed into a coconut grove last Wednesday on Samal Island, five nautical miles from the Davao International Airport, an Air Philippines source yesterday said.

The source said Catipay, who had taken control of the plane when it was known that an emergency landing would be made, had lashed out at the air traffic controllers who called for an "abort of landing" too late.

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-- Rachel Gibson (, April 25, 2000.

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