Thursday, August 28, 2008

Davao Officials Allay Fears Of Contamination, Poisoning After Plane Crashed At Sea

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 28, 2008) – Local officials on Thursday allayed fears of poisoning after a Philippine Air Force C130 cargo plane crashed at sea off Davao City.

Local council man Leonardo Avila said even fishes are safe for human consumption as the military continued searching for the ill-fated aircraft that went down on shortly after take off late Monday at the Davao City International Airport, killing all 9 passengers.

Avila, chairman of the City Council’s committee on environment, said no oil spill or contamination also was noticed from the site where the plane crashed. “If it is an oil tanker, then have something to fear about,” he said.

Divers and villagers have recovered body parts and debris of the plane, but Avila said there were no reports that fishes have eaten human flesh.

Col. Isagani Silva, commander of the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group-11, said they are still investigating what caused the tragedy.

Witnesses claimed to have seen the plane crashed after a lightning strike, but Silva said the air craft had a lightning arrester, a device which is connected in an electric wiring system to protect the system from damage from lightning or any other abnormally high surge of voltage.

“The lightning rod attached to the aircraft will protect the airplane if it is hit by lightning,” Silva said.

”We are also looking into human error, mechanical troubles and other angles as cause of the crash,” he said.

Philippine Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Pedrito Cadungog said the aircraft was piloted by Captain Adrian de Dios and Major Manuel Sambrano and was carrying seven crewmen and on their way to Iloilo province in central Philippines to pick up members of the Presidential Security Group after Monday's visit by President Gloria Arroyo.

The Philippine Air Force has only two ageing C130 aircrafts in their fleet of mostly old OV-10 fighter planes and UH-1H helicopters. (Romy Bwaga)

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