Breaking: Medical Aid Flight Crashes After Takeoff In Manila

An aircraft carrying medical supplies from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila in the Philippines to Japan has crashed during take-off. It is believed that the aircraft overshot the runway earlier today and shortly after was engulfed in flames. Eight people are reported to have died in the incident.

Manila International Airport
An aircraft has crashed killing all on board at Manila International Airport. Photo: Mithril Cloud via Wikimedia Commons

What are the details?

Photos and video footage have emerged on Twitter showing the moment an aircraft completing a medEvac operation was engulfed by flames in the Philippines. The aircraft, registered RP-C5880, was an IAI 1124A Westwind II and was reported to have been chartered by the Philippine Department of Health to transfer an unwell patient.

The aircraft was in the process of leaving Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) when it overshot Runway 24 and crashed. The aircraft was immediately damaged by flames. None of the passengers or crew on board the aircraft survived. The incident happened at 12:00 UTC today and it took around one hour for the flames to be extinguished.

Officials from the Manila International Airport Authority confirmed the news in a statement obtained by a reporter from GMA News, based in the Philippines. In the statement, officials said that six of the members on board the flight had been crew whilst the other two were passengers. The identities of those on board the flight have not yet been shared.

Who was onboard the aircraft?

The flight is believed to have been a government-chartered flight operated by a private charter airline called Lionair Inc, not to be confused with the budget carrier Lion Air.

IAI Westwind
The damaged aircraft was similar to this. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Flickr

Onboard the aircraft was a medic, a nurse, a doctor, a patient, and their companion as well as three crew members. The aircraft was transferring the unwell patient to Tokyo Haneda in Japan for further treatment.

MNL-HND
The aircraft was due to arrive in Tokyo Haneda later today. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

MNL’s Runway 24 closes for investigation

As a result of the incident, authorities have now closed Runway 24. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines will now carry out an investigation to determine exactly what happened to the aircraft. It is currently not know how long the runway will be out of action.

This unfortunate tragedy has put an end to the valiant effort that the Philippine Department of Health has been carrying out over the past weeks with the aircraft. Earlier this week on 24th March, a photo was shared on the department’s Facebook page displaying crews loading up RP-C5880. The photo shows boxes stacked outside the stationary aircraft. These are thought to have been medical supplies to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The aircraft appears to have been instrumental in many similar relief efforts in its recent history. FlightRadar24 shows that the aircraft has taken recent trips to Butuan Bancasi Airport, Zamboanga International Airport and Davao City Francisco Bangoy International Airport, all of which are in the Philippines.

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