10 dead in Plaridel, Bulacan plane crash

MANILA (Updated) -- At least 10 people were confirmed dead when a six-seater plane crashed in a residential area in Plaridel, Bulacan on the morning of Saturday, March 17.

A Piper PA-23 Apache aircraft, a light plane with registry number Rp-C299 operated by Lite Express, was bound for Laoag, Ilocos Norte, when it crashed into a house in Lumang Bayan village after it took off from Plaridel Airport at around 11:21 a.m. on Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.

Plaridel chief police Superintendent Julio Lizardo said all five individuals on board the aircraft, including the pilot and a chief mechanic, were killed.

Also killed were five members of a family living in a house, where the plane crashed.

Plaridel Police Chief Inspector Agustin Joseph, in a radio interview, said the plane hit a house where a family was having their lunch.

According to a report by the Police Regional Office in Central Luzon, the five people on the plane who died were Captain Ruel Meloria (pilot), Romeo Huenda (chief mechanic), Elisha Necesario (passenger), Maria Vera Pagaduan (passenger), and Nelson Melgar (passenger).

Other fatalities were Louisa dela Rosa, 80; Risa dela Rosa, the mother, and her three children, 17-year-old John dela Rosa, 11-year-old Timothy dela Rosa, and seven-year-old Trisa dela Rosa.

TV footage showed parts of the plane wreckage and the shattered walls of the house at the still-smoldering crash site.

Rescuers were looking for at least 1 missing person in the rubble of the house.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said all aircrafts operated by Lite Air Express were grounded pending investigation.

"CAAP's accident investigators and a team from the Flight Safety and Inspectorate Service were immediately dispatched to the crash site," Apolonio said.

"All aircraft operated by Lite Air Express are grounded, pending the result of the investigation," he added.

Authorities have yet to release the identities of the victims. (with AP)

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