January 29, 2010
Cotabato – A Philippine Air Force Nomad N22B plane with tail number 18, crashed Thursday morning killing eight of its passengers, including a senior air force commander and seven other people aboard while one person died on the ground and two others were injured.
Police said among those killed were Maj. Gen. Butch Lacson, commanding general of the Philippine Air Force's (PAF) 3rd Wing Division based in Zamboanga City. The 7 other PAF personnel who died were:
+ Lacson's staff officer Maj. Prisco Tacoboy;
+ Aide-de-camp 2nd Lt. Alexander Ian Lipae;
+ Sgt. Maria Rose Lamera;
+ Sgt. Ian Mejia;
+ Pilot Captain Gaylord Ordonio;
+ Co-pilot 1st Lt. Angelica Valdez; and
+ Crew chief Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Gozon.
A civilian, Inday Mondrano, died after a wall reportedly fell on her when the military aircraft crashed around 11:30 a.m. at Virgo Subdivision, Rosary Heights 9, in Cotabato City.
Meanwhile, Gela Gumiton, a resident in the area, was also brought to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center for head and body injuries she sustained during the incident.
Cotabato Mayor Muslimin Sema said that one fireman also was injured while responding to the emergency.
The 35 year old twin-prop Nomad aircraft left Davao City around 9:00am for Zamboanga City when it landed Cotabato airport to dropped off Tactical Operations Group chief Col. Cris Tumanda before taking-off again for Edwin Andrew airbase at 11:35 am.
The plane was gaining altitude when cotabato tower received a message from the pilot at 11:37 am saying that they would return to the station as they were experiencing engine failure and decided to turn back to the airport. It was on approach to the runway when it lose altitude and crashed, Civil Aviation Authority deputy director Ed Kapunan said a radio interview.
The lucky passenger, Cris Tumanda, group commander of the Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group 12 (TOG-12) based in Cotabato City, stressed that the aircraft showed no signs of engine trouble during the early stages of their flight from Davao reporting that it was all smooth before he disembarked from the plane.
Brig. Gen. Carlix Donila, wing commander of the 530th Air Base Wing said the pilot of the Nomad plane was able to contact the tower minutes before the plane crashed to the ground and burst into flames, setting fire to two houses that it had hit and killing one person on the ground.
"There are four remaining Nomad planes but only three are in service, and they will be grounded pending results of an investigation that will be headed by Brig. Gen. Jesus Fajardo, the PAF’s chief of staff" says air force spokesman Lt. Col. Gerardo Zamudio.
The Nomad plane was manufactured by Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) in Melbourne, Australia. It was ordered by the PAF in 1975 and first delivered in 1976. They were the most reliable and trusted utility plane in the air force inventory mainly based in Mindanao transporting commanders to remote areas including Jolo, Sulu and Basilan.