Death Toll In Philippines Military Plane Crash Rises To 50

 

Philippine security forces searched among coconut trees on a remote southern island Monday for the flight data boxes of an aircraft that crashed and killed 50 people in one of the country’s worst military air disasters.

The C-130 Hercules transport plane was carrying 96 people, most of them recent army graduates, when it overshot the runway on Sunday while trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province — a haven for Islamist militants.

The plane “skidded” and burst into flames in a village, killing 50 people including 47 military personnel and three civilians, said military spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo.

Another 53 were injured, most of them soldiers. It was not clear if the pilots were among the survivors.

“This is one of the worst tragic incidents that happened in our armed forces,” Arevalo said.

The three civilians killed were not on the flight and had been working in a quarry, village leader Tanda Hailid told AFP.

Photos of the scene released by the military’s Joint Task Force-Sulu showed the damaged tail and smoking wreckage scattered in a coconut grove.

“We have people on the ground to make sure the integrity of the pieces of the evidence that we will retrieve, most particularly the flight data recorder,” Arevalo said.

“Aside from eyewitness accounts, we are also looking for recordings, radio conversation recordings between the pilot and the control tower.”

Arevalo said the military had secured the crash site and would ensure militants on the island do not disrupt search efforts.

Dental records were being used to help identify the charred remains of victims.

Most of the passengers recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the restive island as part of a counter-insurgency effort in the Muslim-majority region.

The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate.

‘Worst crash’

C-130s have been the workhorses of air forces around the world for decades, used to transport troops, supplies, and vehicles.

The second-hand Hercules that crashed Sunday was acquired from the United States and delivered to the Philippines earlier this year.

It was one of four in the country’s fleet and was in “very good condition”, the military said. Two others are being repaired while the third has been grounded following the crash.

“These are all seasoned and experienced pilots, that’s why we are also unable to immediately say how this… (happened),” said Arevalo.

“Even if these (military assets) are not brand new… these are airworthy.”

“This ranks as the worst crash of a Philippine military aircraft with 50 dead so far as compared to the 40 dead in a 1971 crash of a PAF C-47,” Jose Antonio Custodio, a military historian and analyst, told AFP.

It was the latest in a series of recent military air accidents in the Philippines.

Last month, a Black Hawk helicopter went down during a night-time training flight, killing all six on board. The accident prompted the grounding of the country’s entire Black Hawk fleet.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said Monday the incidents would provide “impetus for further modernisation” of the armed forces.

“The whole country is mourning,” he said.

Treat Military Plane Crashes As National Emergency, CAN Tells Buhari

A file photo of NAF personnel with an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to treat military plane crashes as a national emergency.

Since January, the nation has recorded three plane crashes involving military aircraft resulting in the death of at least 20 personnel.

In a statement issued on Sunday by its National Secretary, Daramola Joseph, CAN asked the Federal Government to ascertain that all planes are fit for flights before embarking on any trip.

“It is high time thorough investigations are carried out with a view to ascertaining the immediate and remote causes of these recurrent disasters and address the causes decisively and squarely,” the statement partly read.

“We cannot continue to lose our finest military and security officers to air disasters without treating the situation as a national emergency.

READ ALSO: Chief Of Army Staff, Others Die In Kaduna Plane Crash

“CAN is genuinely concerned and suggests that while the nation still awaits the report of the cause or causes of this latest crash, adequate measures should be taken so as to avert this kind of tragedy both in our military and civil aviation in the future.

“We must ascertain that all military aircraft are fit to fly and that the training of the flight officers is excellent.

“We further plead that adequate care should be taken of the dependants of the deceased so that they might be proud eternally of the nation the deceased served.”

CAN’s reaction comes two days after a Nigerian Air Force jet crashed at the Kaduna International Airport due to bad weather.

Victims on board the ill-fated aircraft were the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, Brigadier Generals Ahmed Kuliya, O Olayinka, and MI Abdulkadir; Majors N Hamza, LA Hayat; Sergeants O Adesina, and Umar; as well as Aircraftman OM Oyedepo, Flt Lt TO Asaniyi, and Flt Lt AA Olufade.

The Beechcraft 350 aircraft conveying the military officers, with registration number 5N-R203, was billed to land at the Nigerian Airforce Base in the Mando area of Kaduna but diverted to land at the civil airport.

Auto Crash Claims Three Lives In Ondo

A map of Ondo, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

Three persons have died in a lone auto crash along Ondo/Ore road in Ondo state.

The accident occurred around 7am on Sunday.

Three others who sustained injuries in the crash have been rushed to a nearby hospital.

The vehicle was said to be travelling to Akure when the unfortunate incident happened.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Eight In Plateau

According to an eyewitness account, the crash was caused by overspeeding which led to the loss of control.

The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ondo State, Ahmed Hassan confirmed the auto crash, adding that three persons lost their lives.

Hassan said that he is yet to get full details on the auto crash from the officials investigating the incident.

Bus Crash Kills 14 In Sri Lanka

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue
File photo

 

A crowded bus crashed into a precipice in central Sri Lanka Saturday, killing the driver and 13 passengers in the worst road accident in 16 years, police said.

The privately-owned bus was travelling through the hilly region of Passara when it went off the road and crashed as the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming truck at a narrow pass, police said.

Five of the dead passengers were women and eight were men, police said, while another 30 people sustained injuries.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: British PM Receives First Dose Of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said CCTV footage suggested the bus driver was negligent before the accident. An investigation was underway.

It was the worst bus crash since April 2005 when a driver tried to beat a train at a level crossing at the north-western town of Polgahawela. The bus driver escaped with minor injuries, but 37 passengers were killed.

Sri Lanka records an average of 3,000 road fatalities annually making the island’s roads among the most dangerous in the world.

AFP

Google Services Experience Outage Globally

In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

A massive outage knocked Google services including Gmail and video sharing platform YouTube offline across much of the globe Monday.

WIthin minutes, social media sites were awash with hashtags including #googledown and YouTubeDOWN as hundreds of millions of internet users tried vainly to connect to the US search engine.

Google indicated the outage had affected all of its services for the “majority” of users.

Lagos Govt Commences Reconstruction Of Helicopter Crash Site

Lagos-Helicopter-Crashes
Scene of the accident on Friday in Lagos State. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Lagos State Government has commenced reconstruction of buildings affected by the helicopter crash in the Opebi area of the state.

This comes barely 24 hours after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who visited the scene of the accident on Monday morning, promised to support those affected by the crash.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the reconstruction of the affected fence and buildings at 14 and 16, Salvation Road, Opebi in Ikeja commenced on Monday morning, following the governor’s pledge.

Sanwo-Olu in company with the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, and the Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Oluwafemi Damilola Oke-Osanyitolu conducted a post-disaster assessment of the crash site.

The Governor also promised that the state government will conduct integrity tests on the affected buildings within a hundred metres radius and do necessary repairs to assist the affected families by restoring normalcy as quickly as possible.

READ ALSO: Sanwo-Olu Visits Scene Of Lagos Helicopter Crash, Promises To Bring Respite To Those Affected

“The affected buildings are residential homes that have citizens living there. As at the exact time the helicopter crash happened, a lot of people were not in the premises and even the elderly people that were around and in their rooms.

“Tests will be conducted to understand the integrity of the buildings and once that is ascertained today or tomorrow, we will start work with the federal agencies.

“We will start the reconstruction and renovation of the places affected by the crash; the rooms, walls, tents and ensure that we quickly bring respite to the senior citizens that have been affected,” the governor was quoted as saying.

The governor also commended LASEMA, other emergency responders, and security agencies for their swift response to the crash.

Earlier, a Bell 206 Helicopter, belonging to Quorum Aviation, crashed in-between two residential buildings mid-day on Friday.

The aircraft was said to have travelled into the state from Rivers before the tragic incident occurred, thus claiming three lives.

Lagos Helicopter Crash: Buhari Commiserates With Families Of Victims

President Muhammadu Buhari on August 28, 2020 commiserated with the families of the victims of a helicopter that crashed in Lagos State.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the families of the victims of the helicopter that crashed in the Opebi area of Lagos State.

The President’s condolence was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, President Buhari said the nation awaits the report of the investigation into the accident by the aviation regulatory agencies.

While praying that God will console the families of the victims and grant peace to the souls of the dead, the President wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The President’s reaction comes hours after the aircraft crashed into a private residence, killing two crew members and critically injured one person.

The helicopter, a Bell 206, with registration number 5N BQW is said to belong to Quorum Aviation and came in from Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

Black Box Recovered 

Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has recovered the black box of the helicopter that crashed into a residential building in Lagos State on Friday.

Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) are moving the wreckage from the scene of the incident as an investigation into the crash begins.

While confirming the incident, the Director-General of LASEMA, Dr Femi Osanyintolu disclosed that two persons died from the crash with one other critically wounded.

“At about 12noon, we received a distress call in our command and control centre that there was a helicopter mishap and immediately we activated the Lagos state emergency response team,” he explained.

“We were able to rescue one person alive and he has been transferred to the Lagos State Teaching Hospital where he is receiving adequate treatment, but it is pertinent to note that we recovered two bodies and they have been deposited at the mortuary.

“Based on the investigation carried out, it was due to the impact that led to their mortalities.”

Four Soldiers Killed In Indonesia Helicopter Crash

The wreckage of an Indonesian military Mi-17 helicopter is seen at a crash site in Kendal on June 6, 2020. STR / AFP

 

Four soldiers were killed and five others were injured after a helicopter crashed during a training exercise on Indonesia’s Java island on Saturday, an army official said.

The men were in the middle of a flying lesson when the MI-17 helicopter crashed and caught fire in central Java province.

“The incident killed four crew members and injured five others,” said Nefra Firdaus, Indonesian Army spokesman, in a statement.

The injured were evacuated and taken to hospital.

Firdaus said that prior to the accident the helicopter had undergone a pre-flight check and was found to be in good condition.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

AFP

Bus Crash Kills 25 In South Africa

SA Minister Assures Foreign Nationals Of Halted Attacks

 

Twenty-five people died Monday when a bus rolled down a steep embankment in South Africa’s coastal Eastern Cape province, the country’s transport minister said.

“Reports indicate that the driver lost control of the bus, which subsequently rolled down a steep embankment, leaving 25 dead and approximately 62 injured,” Fikile Mbalula said in a statement.

“To lose so many lives in a single accident is devastating and shocking.”

The bus was carrying over 80 mainly elderly people to the town centre in Butterworth, the provincial transport department spokesman, Unathi Binqose, said.

It was travelling on a gravel road when it overturned.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle and it rolled down a very steep embankment,” Binqose said, adding that the driver figured among the dead.

The crash was the deadliest accident in the province since 2015 when 35 people lost their lives.

Binqose said checks would be carried out if the bus had been roadworthy as “it may be a contributing factor”.

Despite having one of the most developed road networks on the continent, South Africa has among the highest rates of road accidents in the region owing to speeding and poor maintenance of some vehicles and roads.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) data shows over 14,000 people died in road crashes on South African roads in 2017.

AFP

Bryant’s Widow Sues Helicopter Company Over Fatal Crash

In this file photo taken on November 21, 2015 Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the Lakers NBA match up with the Toronto Raptors,at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  Robyn BECK / AFP

 

Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed a lawsuit on Monday against the operators of the helicopter that crashed on January 26, killing the NBA icon and eight others.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on the same day that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven crash victims were memorialized in a public ceremony at the Staples Center.

The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and the estate of the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was among the victims.

Gianna Bryant’s basketball teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, Altobelli’s parents John and Keri, Payton’s mother Sarah and basketball coach Christina Mauser were also killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the exact cause of the crash, although preliminary findings showed no sign of mechanical failure.

Monday’s lawsuit faults the company for allowing the helicopter to fly in “heavy fog and low clouds” that Sunday morning, conditions which prompted “law enforcement agencies and tour companies” to ground their helicopters.

“On information and belief, Island Express Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration operating certificate limited its pilots to flying only under visual flight rules,” the lawsuit says.

“The subject helicopter was not licensed or certified to be flown into instrument conditions. On information and belief, the pilot-in-command, Ara George Zobayan, was required to fly only in conditions that he could navigate visually.

“Ara George Zobayan attempted to manoeuvre the helicopter up and forward to clear the clouds, then entered a turn sending the helicopter into steep terrain at approximately 180 mph,” according to the suit. “Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the helicopter flying through a layer of clouds and fog before the helicopter crashed.”

The lawsuit notes that in 2015 Zobayan was cited by the FAA for violating the visual flight rules minimums by “flying into the airspace of reduced visibility from weather conditions.”

Island Express did not immediately comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified general, economic and punitive damages.

AFP

Helicopter Crash: Remains Of Kobe Bryant, Eight Others Recovered

Investigators work at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. David McNew/Getty Images/AFP

 

The bodies of all nine people aboard the helicopter that crashed near Los Angeles killing NBA legend Kobe Bryant have been recovered, the coroner’s office said Tuesday.

Three bodies were retrieved from the wreckage by a special response team Sunday, and the remaining six on Monday, it said.

The remains were “removed from the crash site and transported to the department’s forensic science centre,” the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a statement.

Investigators are examining the bodies and working to identify the individual remains.

AFP

Iran Recovers Blacks Boxes From Crashed Plane

Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. AFP

 

Iranian search and rescue teams have found the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner that crashed Wednesday soon after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport, the country’s civil aviation authority said.

“The two black boxes of the Ukranian 737 aeroplane that crashed this morning have been found,” said the authority’s spokesman, Reza Jafarzadeh, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

The Ukrainian jet bound for Kiev slammed into a field before dawn at Khalaj Abad, about 45 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Imam Khomeini International Airport.

None of the 176 people on board survived, Iranian officials said.

The plane belonged to Ukraine International Airlines, which said the Boeing 737 involved in the crash had been built in 2016 and was checked only two days before it went down.

Preliminary statements by Iranian and Ukrainian authorities suggest the plane suffered an engine malfunction, though the airline did not detail any reasons for the accident.

The crash came shortly after Iran said it fired missiles at Iraqi bases in revenge for the killing of one of the Islamic republic’s top military commanders in a US drone strike on Friday.

Following the missile strikes, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf after rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

Other international carrier said they were suspending all routes passing through Iraqi or Iranian airspace.

AFP