Pilots safely bailedBy Roel Pareño and Jaime Laude
November 10, 2011
A Philippine Air Force (PAF) OV-10 bomber plane crashed yesterday morning inside Edwin Andrews Airbase in Zamboanga after coming from a test flight, according to a military official.
|Strong gusty winds caused the plane to flop. About 12 OV-10 units remains in service with the Philippine Air Force.|
Maj. Romel Miguel, public affairs officer of the 3rd Air Division here, said the two test pilots of the ill-fated OV-10 bronco bomber plane survived by bailing out seconds before the crash. The two pilots, Maj. David Trajano and Lt. Adonis Buscas, suffered slight injuries and were declared safe.
Miguel said the OV-10 plane, which was being used in the “all-out justice” operations of the military against lawless elements, crashed about 9:50 a.m. near the hangar inside the airbase.
Miguel said the bomber plane was on a routine test flight mission when its right engine conked out and failed to restart prompting the pilots to return for an emergency landing.
“The two pilots successfully ejected and luckily were safe,” Miguel said, adding that the ill-fated bomber plane was not armed with bombs since it was only on a test flight.
Witnesses on the ground said they saw the plane swerve on both sides as it approached the airstrip of runway 27 to land.
“The plane was coming in like swerving and God, its propeller on the right side was not functioning. Then suddenly we saw the pilots on parachutes barely made it seconds before a loud explosion occurred,” said traffic police officer SPO1 Ignacio Lozano Jr., who was manning the traffic flow at the crossing of Governor Camins and Sta. Maria road near the air base.
Another witness, traffic aid Ernesto Ramos, said the sudden gust of wind might have also affected the emergency landing.
Miguel said Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena immediately directed the 3rd Air Division to conduct the investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
The order also came with the grounding of the rest of the OV-10 bomber planes in the country.
The 3rd Air Division has been using at least 6 OV-10 bomber planes in support of the Western Mindanao Command’s (Westmincom) recent operations in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Sulu air strikes.
The military said the grounding of the bomber planes might temporarily affect their operations if air support will be needed.