Saturday, November 12, 2011

Piper Aztec: Aircraft makes belly landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

MANILA, Philippines—A small cargo aircraft whose wheels collapsed, forcing it to land on its belly, blocked the main runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) for almost an hour on Saturday, causing several flights to be delayed.

According to Joseph Agustin, chief of the Manila International Airport Authority’s ground operations and safety division, the landing gear of the Piper Aztec collapsed, causing it to slide along the runway on its underside or belly.

Neither of the two people on the plane, pilots Jun Sanchez and Joramel Bautista, was injured.

Agustin said the plane, which was carrying cargo from Palawan, stalled in the middle of the runway when its landing gear collapsed as it was making its landing.

Fire and rescue workers were immediately on the scene.

But during the clearing operation, Emer Tablante, a paramedic, suffered a minor injury and was rushed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital.

It took airport personnel some 40 minutes to clear the disabled aircraft from the runway.

An international flight had to be diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has dispatched investigators to the site to determine the cause of the incident.

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