A Westwind 24 ambulance plane, from Lion Air, caught fire yesterday as it attempted to take off at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino airport with eight people on board, all deceased, airport authorities confirmed.

The accident occurred at 20:00 local time (12:00 GMT), when the plane was preparing to take off to Tokyo Haneda Airport on a medical evacuation mission, with two passengers and six crew members.

Along with airport firefighters, Red Cross emergency teams immediately traveled to the scene of the incident, said the organization’s president in the Philippines, Richard Gordon.

Gordon clarified that the eight people on board were the evacuated patient, his companion, the flight doctor, a doctor, a nurse and three crew members.

According to the manifesto of the leaked flight to the media, the patient and his companion are a Canadian man and an American woman; while the crew on board the plane were all Filipinos.

It has not been revealed what ailment the patient who was going to be evacuated suffered.

The airstrip is temporarily closed until the accident investigation board of the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority determines the cause of the incident.

Yesterday, the Government of the Philippines accused the communist guerrilla on Sunday of having broken the ceasefire announced by its leader last Tuesday after the global UN request amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A government spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte condemned that the New People’s Army (NEP) had attacked soldiers “while doing community work” in the province of Rizal (center of the island of Luzon) after the ceasefire declaration that both parties declared unilaterally.

“This armed attack by the NEP against our soldiers exposes their lack of sincerity,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement, revealing that the assault killed one soldier while two others were wounded.


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