Philippines grounds all Lionair planes after crash killing 8 people

In this handout photo provided by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Media Affairs Office, the remains of a Lionair, West Wind 24 aircraft lies along the runway after it caught fire during take off at Manila's International Airport in Philippines late Sunday March 29, 2020. -AP/MIAA Media Affairs Office

MANILA, Philippines, March 30 (The Inquirer/ANN) — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has grounded the entire fleet of aircraft charter service company Lionair Inc. after one of its medical evacuation (Medevac) planes burst into flames during takeoff in Manila last night, killing all eight people onboard.

“While investigation on the medical evacuation plane RP-C5880 is ongoing, it has been decided that Lionair’s entire fleet will be grounded, ” the air safety regulator said in a statement on Monday.

Lionair claims to be the country’s leading helicopter and executive jet charter company. It has a fleet of seven planes and helicopters, its website showed.

Lionair was also the operator of a Beechcraft King Air that crashed in Calamba City, Laguna last September 2019, killing all nine people onboard.

The aircraft is operated by Lionair Inc., owned by businessman Archibald Po, and not to be confused with Lion Air, the Indonesian airline company.

CAAP said the investigation is being led by the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board. It said the Flight Safety Investigation Committee will probe whether the operator violated flight safety procedures.

The cockpit voice recorder of the Westwind 24 aircraft has been recovered from the scene.

“The recovery will further aid the investigation and help answer why the crash might have occurred, ” CAAP said.

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