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Ill-fated plane’s ‘black box’ retrieved

The team investigating the Ninoy Aquino International Airport plane mishap last Sunday was able to retrieve the aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

The retrieval would help probers determine what happened minutes before the Westwind 1124A type-aircraft owned and operated by Lionair Inc., crashed and caught fire along Runway 06/24 of the airport on the night of March 29.

The flight data recorder, according to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio, is the device used to record specific aircraft performance parameters.

He said the purpose of an FDR is to collect and record data from a variety of aircraft sensors into a medium designed to survive an accident.

Investigators also recovered the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder from the crash site. The CVR is a flight recorder used to record the audio environment in the flight deck of an aircraft for the purpose of investigation of accidents and incidents.

Apolonio said the CAAP made an arrangement for the analysis of the recorded material and to process the FDR’s and CVR’s readouts.

“The rest of the aircraft’s parts have also been relocated to a nearby hangar where the investigation will continue,” said Apolonio.

CAAP grounded the entire fleet of Lionair, Inc. and suspended its operation after two of its medical evacuation planes crashed within seven months, of each other, killing 17 people aboard the two flights.

The recent one happened last Sunday when six Filipinos and two foreign nationals were killed while aboard the aircraft bound for Japan which caught fire while taking off at the runway.

The other plane crash happened in Calamba City in Laguna where nine people died.

The investigation for the latest plane mishap is being conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board, while the Flight Safety Investigation Committee (FSIC) is looking if there are aviation safety procedures violated by the aircraft operator and/or the crew.

CAAP Captain Don Mendoza earlier said the plane was airworthy and that all its pilots passed the requirements.

Lionair volunteered and helped the Department of Health to transport medical supplies and health commodities to Zamboanga, Mactan, Iloilo, Butuan and Metro Manila in relation to the government’s fight against the coronavirus disease.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has committed to providing assistance to the families of the eight victims of the plane crash. In a televised public address late Monday night, Duterte condoled with the victims’ families and urged them not to be discouraged after the accident.

“My condolences to the families and I assure you na tutulong kami sa anumang paraan (we will help in any way we can). Do not be discouraged,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in an earlier statement, also extended his sympathies to the victims’ families.

“We are so sad to learn that a plane crashed last night taking the lives of the eight persons on board,” he said.

He called for a “thorough investigation” on the incident, reminding concerned government agencies to undertake measures to secure the safety of private aircrafts, passengers, and crew.

The victims were identified as Captain Ren Edward Nevada, Captain Melvin Bruel de Castro, Captain Mario Medina, Jael Edmark Agravante, Dr. Cenover Nicarono Bautista, Tomelda Conrado, John Richard Hurst, and Marilyn Vergara de Jesus.

Mendoza earlier said the plane was in Iloilo on Saturday to deliver medical supplies and safely returned to Manila. With PNA

Topics: Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Lionair Inc. , Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines , Eric Apolonio
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