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    Posted June 3, 2013 by

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    Plane overshoots in Davao runway



    By Ben O. Tesiorna


    A Cebu Pacific plane overshoots at the Davao International Airport (DIA) runway after landing under heavy rain and with a sudden power outage Sunday evening.


    Cebu Pacific flight 5J-971 from Manila landed at the DIA around  seven in the evening just as heavy rain hit the area. A sudden power outage also occurred resulting to the runway's lights to trip off.


    The plane's pilot allegedly miscalculated the length of the runway due to the sudden power outage thus overshooting.


    DIA manager Fredrick San Felix however denied on Monday that the runway lights were off when the plane landed. He instead blamed the incident on "miscommunication and human error".


    “We cannot give clearance to land until cleared. All runway systems were normal and the runway lights were in full intensity,” San Felix was quoted as saying.


    The plane veered about 1,150 meters off Runway 23. It was carrying 165 passengers including 4 infants, with 4 cabin crew and two pilots. One of the pilots was identified as Capt. Antonio Oropeza.


    San Felix said the heavy downpour could also not be the reason for the accident. He said they will come out with the real reason after completing their investigation.


    Officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Cebu Pacific are already on site for the probe. San Felix said the aircraft cannot be removed until investigation is completed.


    The presence of the plane in the runway until Monday has reportedly resulted to P1 million loss due to the cancellation of about 40-80 domestic and international flights since Sunday evening.


    About 2,500 passengers were also stranded at the DIA on Monday. Authorities estimate the airport to be close until 8 p.m. Monday.


    Stranded passengers are meanwhile given the option to fly in and out thru the General Santos City airport which is about 3 hours away from Davao City by land.




    Davao City Congressman Karlo Alexei Nograles on Monday called for a deeper legislative probe on the incident as he noted some lapses on the way airline crews handled such an emergency situation.


    For one, Nograles said that when the plane skidded to a stop after overshooting the runway, the emergency exit doors were not opened immediately and flights crews, including the pilot, also went into panic instead of helping the passengers to calm down.


    “ I've talked to one of the shaken passengers and he said that it took 10 minutes before the pilot said anything to the passengers after the plane crashed. That was also the only time when the emergency exit doors were opened. The passengers disembarked using the slide so they had to leave all their personal belongings behind. It was raining hard and they were very slow in transporting the passengers from the plane crash site to the airport,” Nograles said.


    Nograles said the passenger also told him that upon touchdown,he suspects that the plane landed not on the runway but on the ground so the pilot stepped hard in the brakes which is an indication that the pilot miscalculated his landing.


    Even worse, Nograles said is the shabby treatment of the terrified passengers as they were not even given instructions on how and where to collect their luggage.


    “ Upon arrival at the airport, the Cebu Pacific ground staff were very disorganized. They did not know what to do, no instructions were given to the passengers where to collect their belongings or where to claim their luggage etc. Up to now the passengers do not have their luggage yet,” Nograles said.


    Nograles raised the need to call for an inquiry about the incident as it reflects the lack of training of Cebu Pacific's personnel in handling emergency situations and might require a deeper review on the standards and qualifications of airline crews.


    “In other words, Cebu pacific is not equipped to respond to emergency situations such as a plane crash. The in-flight crew should know how to handle actual emergency situations and not just good at making a demo during pre-flight procedures,” Nograles said.


    Nograles also said the the inquiry should also tackle the various promotional campaigns of Cebu Pacific which often results to overbooking and most importantly,overworked pilots and in-flight crews.


    “ Cebu Pacific is endangering the safety of their passengers because they practically turned their airline company into a sari-sari store. With so many flights to cover, their pilots and in-flight crews could hardly take a rest.That is definitely an invitation to disaster,” Nograles said.


    “Isn't it that Cebu Pacific is operating under a congressional franchise for a service? If so, they are under-delivering to a criminal and negligent manner?” he asked.



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