Plane crash kills 1, injures 5 in Baguio

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Sunday, April 10, 2011


BAGUIO CITY (Updated) — A small plane with six people on board crashed in the country’s Summer Capital Sunday afternoon killing one on board and seriously injuring five others, officials said.

The six-seater Piper Aztec plane, with tail number RPC 5140, crashed and burst into flames in a hilly horse-riding trail in Camp John Hay, a former US military recreation center, a few minutes after taking off from this city's Loakan airport, regional military commander Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan said.

A passenger was killed instantly while five others, including an air force reserve officer who served as the pilot, were seriously injured and taken to a hospital. One passenger was in critical condition, Pangilinan said.

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Philippine National Police spokesperson identified the fatality as Jorse George. Injured were the pilot, Reynaldo Garcia, Joe Miranda, Ness Guerrero, Basil Matthew and Grace Alvarez. They were rushed at the Baguio General Hospital.

Renee Gabuyog, a horseback-riding guide, said he saw the plane hovering unusually low over the pine trees shortly before he heard a loud thud that was followed by an explosion. He said he and about 20 other tourist guides helped extricate and carry the victims away from the burning wreckage.

Residents living near the entrance gate of Camp John Hay initially thought that the plane would crash on one of the houses.

Nobody on the ground was injured. Television footage showed firefighters training water cannons on still-smoldering parts of the plane scattered on a grassy slope in a wooded area, where the plane apparently hit some trees before crashing. A plane part hangs on a tree branch.

Baguio, called the country's summer capital for its cool weather, is famous among local and foreign tourists for its mountain scenes and pine trees.

An investigation was under way to determine the cause of the crash of the plane, which was bound for Plaridel in northern Bulacan province, police said. (AP/VR/Rimaliza Opiña of Sun.Star Baguio/Sunnex)

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