MANILA, Philippines – A medical evacuation plane burst into flames shortly while taking off at Runway 24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening (March 29).
The flight carrying eight passengers, including an American and a Canadian national, was bound for Haneda in Japan.
“Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement.
MIAA said the runway has been temporarily closed while the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines carries out an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
Reports said the flight was carrying a Canadian patient and a companion; a doctor and a nurse.
The Manila Public Information Office citing PLM President Noel Leyco revealed the identity of the doctor who perished in the accident.
BREAKING: Dr. Nicko Bautista, a PLM College of Medicine 2014 alumnus, was among those who perished in the medevac crash earlier at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport — PLM President Noel Leyco#AlertoManileno #COVID19PH pic.twitter.com/HAPQJ1ozib— Manila Public Information Office (@ManilaPIO) March 29, 2020
In her Facebook post, Nicko’s sister, singer-songwriter Ria Bautista, confirmed that her younger brother, Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Baustista was among the eight crash victims.
“I lost my brother on that flight. No words can describe how devastating it is to lose a family member in such a horrific way. How do you process something like this,” she said.
She posted her brother’s last post prior to the tragedy and hailed the efforts of his brother and all of the front liners in the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“He fought like a hero and I can only hope that his fight would not be in vain,” she concluded.
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