Philippine airport re-opens following MA60 crash

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Caticlan airport in the Philippines was closed for around 5hr yesterday after the crash on landing of the Zest Air Xian Aircraft MA60, which resulted in 22 of the 27 people on board being taken to hospital.

A spokeswoman for Caticlan airport says the accident occurred at or around 06:58 yesterday and the airport re-opened at 12:15 that day once the aircraft's debris was cleared from the runway.

She says the MA60 turboprop, operating from Manila to Caticlan by local commercial airline Zest Airways, landed too short on the runway.

It then skidded out of control and crashed nose first into a concrete barrier next to parking bay one, says the spokeswoman, adding that the aircraft is still there.

A photograph of the aircraft, with the local registration RP-C8893, shows extensive damage to its wing, landing gear, undercarriage and to at least one of the two engines.

The spokeswoman says on impact the aircraft caught fire but fire crews were able to quickly contain it.

She says of the 27 people on board, 22 were taken to hospital for treatment and at least 17 were found to be injured.

The two pilots were among the injured but all those taken to hospital have since been discharged except for one woman who this afternoon was airlifted to a another hospital, says the spokeswoman.

Philippine civil aviation investigators were at the airport yesterday inspecting the wreckage, taking photographs and retrieving data, adds the spokeswoman.

Zest Airways, previously known as Asian Spirit, operates scheduled passenger services to Caticlan, near the holiday island of Boracay.

The airline operates Chinese-built MA60 turboprops to Caticlan airport which is renowned for having a short runway.

Zest Airways last year ordered five MA60s and only started operating the 50- to 60-seat aircraft late last year.