Thursday, January 28, 2010

Philippine soldiers mourn death of general, 7 others in plane crash

Soldiers and volunteers at the scene of the crash site in Cotabato City in Mindanao where a Philippine Air Force Nomad plane went down on Thursday, January 28, 2010. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Mark Navales)

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 28, 2010) – The Philippine military mourned Thursday the death of a senior commander and seven more whose Nomad aircraft crashed on a village in Cotabato City in Mindanao.

“We are sad by what happened; seven of our own died in the crash. This is terrible day for us all in the military service,” said one soldier who helped pulled out the charred remains from the smoldering wreckage of the ageing aircraft.

Soldiers and paramedics rushed to the crash site after the crash in an effort to find survivors, but there was none.

Major Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman, said among the dead was Major General Mario Butch Lacson, commander of the 3rd Air Division in Zamboanga City.

Cabangbang said the plane crashed on a village in Cotabato City two minutes after it took off at around 11:35 a.m. at a military base in Maguindanao province. “It is a sad day for us. All eight passengers and crew perished in the crash,” he told the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Lacson’s group came from a conference in Davao City and was returning to Zamboanga City, but their plane had a brief stopped at an air force base in Maguindanao’s Awang town.

Other reports said soldiers pulled out the charred remains of the passengers, including two pilots and a crewman. It was unknown whether there casualties on the ground, but the plane crashed in two houses which caught fire.

Cabangbang said there is an ongoing investigation into the crash. “We still don’t know what happened, but the plane is quite old. There is an ongoing investigation,” he said.

The Philippine Air Force has one of the oldest fleet of air crafts in the world, including about a dozen Nomad plane. (Mark Navales contributed to this report)

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