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All 9 aboard medical evac plane killed in Philippines crash

Posted: 3:00 PM, Sep 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-01 15:00:42-04

MANILA, Philippines — All nine people on board a small medical evacuation plane were killed Sunday when the aircraft crashed into a resort area south of the Philippine capital and exploded in flames, officials said.

The light plane crashed into a resort compound in Pansol village in Laguna province near the foothills of Mount Makiling. Police and rescuers retrieved nine bodies from the wreckage, police said. Two people on the ground were injured and brought to a hospital.

Firefighters sift through the site where an air-ambulance plane crashed as they search for the bodies of passengers, at a resort area in Calamba City, Laguna province, south of Manila on September 1, 2019. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Eric Apolonio, a spokesman of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said the light plane was on a medical evacuation flight from southern Dipolog city in Zamboanga del Norte province and disappeared from radar for unknown reasons as it flew over Laguna, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital. The plane was supposed to land in Manila.

The nine on board the plane included two pilots, two nurses, a doctor, a patient, the patient’s wife and two other people, police said.

Videos posted online by witnesses showed flames and black smoke billowing from the private resort compound in Pansol, a district popular for its hot springs and swimming pools. Firefighters and an ambulance can be seen near the scene of the crash as local officials asked villagers to step back to a safe distance.

The crash happened during the monsoon season, when fewer people visit Pansol’s resorts compared to the hot summer months that ended in June.