Palace calls for stricter safety measures for aircraft after Lionair incident

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2020 03:47 PM

Debris of the Lionair medical evacuation plane that exploded during takeoff is seen on the runway of the Manila International Airport in Pasay City, March 29, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA - Malacañang on Monday called for stricter security and safety measures for aircraft after a medical evacuation plane caught fire in the country's main airport, leaving 8 people dead.

The Lionair-operated Westwind aircraft was bound Sunday for Haneda airport in Japan, on a medical evacuation mission carrying 6 crew members and 2 passengers when it caught fire upon takeoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"There must be a thorough investigation of the incident and the concerned government agencies must undertake measures to secure the safety of private aircrafts as well as their passengers and crew," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Monday said investigation into the incident might take up to a year as authorities need to examine the wreckage, interview witnesses on the ground, and get the aircraft's service record.

Panelo extended the Palace's sympathies to the families of those who died in the incident.

"We are so sad to learn that a plane crashed last night taking the lives of the 8 persons on board," he said. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the grieving families of those who perished in the crash."