MANILA – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on Monday said an investigation into a Japan-bound plane that caught fire on takeoff at the Manila airport Sunday, leaving 8 dead, might take up to a year.
The Lion Air-operated Westwind aircraft was headed for Haneda airport Sunday on a medical evacuation mission carrying 6 crew members and 2 passengers, an American and a Canadian, said Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Spokesperson Erik Apolonio.
Authorities need to examine the wreckage, interview witnesses on the ground and get the aircraft’s service record, he said. Investigators are still verifying if the plane had a flight recorder, which will be sent to Singapore, Japan or Australia for analysis, he added.
All these steps may take “between 6 months to one year,” Apolinario told DZMM.
Lion Air is also the owner of a medical evacuation aircraft that crashed in Calamba, Laguna and left 9 dead in September last year.
Authorities are still investigating the incident and have sent the reconstructed plane for analysis abroad, said Apolinario.
“It takes time also. Hindi naman po puwedeng basta tingnan lang tapos i-assume na natin na ganoon ang nangyari” he told DZMM.
Authorities will release initial information on the latest crash “within the day”, he said.
The runway where the 8 p.m. accident happened re-opened at 5 a.m. Monday, said Apolinario.
Most passenger aircraft at the airport have been grounded for weeks since the government put Manila and the rest of the main Philippine island of Luzon on quarantine to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.
With a report from Agence France-Presse
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