Charter flight firm’s fleet grounded following crashPhilippine Daily Inquirer
The government has grounded the entire fleet of the charter company that owned the four-seat Piper Seneca plane that crashed in Masbate province on Saturday, killing Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, its pilot and company owner Capt. Jessup Bahinting and a Nepali student copilot.
This came as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) launched a full investigation to determine whether Aviatour Air was guilty of negligence that could have led to the engine trouble that reportedly caused the crash.
Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas said CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III had been ordered to “conduct a thorough investigation and get to the bottom of the plane crash involving Aviatour Air.”
The CAAP has formed a composite team to conduct the inquiry. The aircraft accident investigation and inquiry board is headed by Capt. Amado H. Soliman, an aviation industry expert in flight safety, Capt. Ramon V. Flores and Capt. Elmer F. Pena.
“A suspension order has been issued by CAAP grounding all aircraft used by Aviatour Air pending result of the full-blown investigation,” Hotchkiss said.
Soliman, along with Capt. Lorenzo Gumba, and Engr. Reyner Bucalinao, was sent to Masbate after the plane crash to gather information about the accident.
Hotchkiss said the CAAP would keep the plane wreckage at the Masbate airport under tight security.
Unlike bigger commercial jets, the Piper Seneca plane did not have a flight data recorder, often referred to as a “black box,” used to help determine the cause of a crash. Reports from Paolo G. Montecillo and Jerome Aning