Nepalese version of the plane crash-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I WONDER how a Nepalese news site would report the circumstances of Kshitiz Chand, the young Nepalese who co-piloted the Piper Seneca with Capt. Jessup Bahinting that crashed into the deep seawaters of Masbate and whose body has yet to be recovered from the wreckage.
At 5 p.m., divers pulled out a body but could not identify whose it was. We in the newsroom guessed that it would be Chand based on the brand of watch the man wore. It was a Fossil, which appeals to the young. Bahinting, given his age and stature, would be wearing a Rado or a Breitling.
We were wrong. Bahinting wore a Fossil watch. Orson Bahinting, who was waiting on the shores of Masbate, identified the body as that of his brother from the uniform and watch.
Live TV reports said yesterday that divers found only one body in the wreckage. They were expecting two, Bahinting’s and Chand’s. They had already retrieved the body of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo last Monday.
I mention the Nepalese news site because in its Monday post, nepalnews.com reported the fatal accident that befell Robredo, Bahinting and Chand. The post was wrought with so many errors that I wondered whether the reporter was referring to the Robredo tragedy or some other plane crash that we in the Philippines were unaware of .
Nepalnews.com reported that the plane, a “Fokker 27” that was bound for “the gambling centre of Laoag,” took off from Manila and three minutes after, “plunged into Manila Bay… killing at least 14 of 34 people aboard.” Huh?
More. “Sixteen people were rescued while four remained unaccounted for as Navy frogmen dived into waters around 11 metres (six fathoms) deep for others believed trapped in their seats in the plane, reports said quoting Philippines government officials.”
This is worse. “Several of the dead were children, including an 11-year-old boy whose body was found still bound to his seat. The plane carried 29 passengers and five crew.”
Have we local journalists been remiss in our job that we didn’t get this information? Did the reporter or correspondent of nepalnews.com see phantoms? Or did he have two different stories and, in writing one, he dozes off and wakes up to resume writing but only this time, incorporating data of another event?
As far back as my Googling goes, there was no plane accident anywhere in the Philippines on Aug. 18 as described in the nepalnews.com post, except in this particular Nepalese website.
I checked the website last night. The erroneous post, which went viral on Facebook, has been deleted. The administrator’s attention must have been called to the horrific post.
On its August 22, 4:56 p.m. posting, it carried the story about the recovery of Chand’s and Bahinting’s bodies. It also bore a photo of the wreckage, attributed to The Washington Post. The caption said, “Remains of the plane that crashed in Philippines Saturday night, killing 14 of 34 passengers.”
Local reports said that as of 5 p.m., only Bahinting’s body has been retrieved.
Journalists sometimes commit mistakes in reporting but nothing as untruthful and fantastic as the one that nepalnews.com had posted. I can only surmise that the reporter who submitted the story to nepalnews.com picked his details from air. Pwerteng emote, to borrow the lingo of today in referring to someone who is doing or saying something with ardor or zeal.
Capt. Bahinting, bless his kind soul, might now be wondering if indeed he and Chand had carried 32 passengers more in their small Piper. Last he checked behind him, it was only Robredo and Police Sr. Insp. Jun Abrazado, the secretary’s close-in bodyguard, who survived the crash.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2012.