9 fatalities in air ambulance plane crash in Laguna resort named

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Authorities have identified the nine people who were killed when a small medical evacuation plane crashed and burst into flames in a private property in Calamba, Laguna on Sunday afternoon.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) named the fatalities as Capt. Jesus Hernandez, pilot; First Officer Lino Cruz Jr., co-pilot; Garret Garcia, doctor; Kirk Eoin Badiola, nurse; Yamato Togawa, nurse; Ryx Gil Laput nurse; Raymond Bulacja, flight mechanic; Tom Carr, New Zealander patient; and Erma Carr, wife of the patient.

Of the nine casualties, only the patient's wife was not listed in the flight plan, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said in a statement on Monday.

The council also said the two caretakers of the house where the light aircraft crashed, identified as Maria Luisa Roca and John Rae Roca, sustained burns from the incident and were brought to hospital.

The NDRRMC said the dead victims were recovered from a Beechcraft King Air 350 plane with tail number RP-C2296 in Agojo private resort in Miramonte Subdivision, Sitio 6, Barangay Pansol. It added the aircraft left Dipolog Airport in Zamboanga del Norte for Manila at about 1:40 p.m.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Sunday that the plane lost radar contact at 3:10 p.m. while flying 25 nautical miles from Manila. The fire from the crash was under control shortly before 5 p.m.

CAAP and Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB) investigators have been dispatched to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident. CAAP said it has partial information on the nature of the crash, but it will release the result of its probe once AAIIB finishes its investigation.

Eyewitnesses told CNN Philippines that they saw the plane flying at a low altitude, with a loud engine, before it plummeted and exploded.

"Mababa lang 'yung lipad nung plane. Nung medyo nasa taas siya, medyo mausok na siya tapos ang ingay niya. So malalaman mo talaga na parang pabagsak siya," Ryan Estrellado told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: The plane was flying low. When it gained altitude, there was a lot of smoke and it was very noisy. You knew that it was going down.]

Ahrcee Genil, a participant in a company team building activity near the area, said the plane crashed at around 3:10 p.m.

"Napansin namin, alam namin mababa eh kasi maingay siya eh. Pinilit niyang umakyat. While he’s trying to climb, mayroong mga nagbagsakan na debris, and then nawala siya sa ulap. And then nung tumakbo kami sa kabilang side ng resort, nakita namin medyo ume-ekis na siya pababa eh, tapos sumabog na lang siya," Genil told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: We noticed it, and we knew it was flying low because its engine was noisy. It tried to ascend. While he's trying to climb, debris started falling, and then it disappeared in the clouds. And then when we ran to the other side of the resort, we saw it slightly zig-zag in the air while it was descending, then it just exploded.]

CNN Philippines’ Paolo Barcelon, Eugene Adalia, Xave Gregorio, Edward Gabud, Pia Garcia and Catherine Modesto contributed to this report.