THE Aircraft Investigation Board of the 220 Airlift Wing, directed to investigate the cause of Nomad N-22B Number 18 crash in Cotabato City, has submitted its initial report to Lieutenant General Oscar Rabena, through the office of Colonel Raymundo Elefante of the Air Force Safety Office.

In its report, Air Force spokesman Gerardo Zamudio said the Board collected the transcript of the conversation between the air traffic controller and the aircraft, and also retrieved plane parts from the crash site.

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“Witnesses from the crash site were also interviewed to get their accounts and also to determine the attitude of the plane prior to impact,” said Zamudio.

Eight military officials and enlisted personnel died when the Nomad plane crashed in Cotabato City, including Mario Butch Lacson, the commander of the 3rd Air Division.

“Based on the available information and data, the Investigators have reasons to believe that the investigation should focus on the material factor as the probable cause of the accident,” added Zamudio.

Zamudio said that based on the initial investigation, it revealed that the left hand engine and propeller were badly damaged and the components thereon were detached upon impact while the right-hand engine was intact.

“It is believed that the LH (left hand) Engine and Propeller were still operating and rotating at high speed when the plane hit the concrete house upon impact,” he said.

Zamudio also said that the board has a theory that the pilot may have encountered RH Engine failure while on flight.

“To confirm this theory, the Board will open the RH Engine to determine its condition before impact, with the assistance of technical experts from the engine manufacturer,” he said.

“We will continue to ground the remaining Nomad Aircraft until such time that the real cause of the accident has been established,” added Zamudio. (VR/Sunnex)