CAAP: Probe into Robredo plane crash to take timeBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the investigation into the plane crash that killed Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo might take a while with probers taking into consideration all possibilities that led to the crash.
“There are many factors in an accident: there’s the human factor, the maintenance factor, the material factor…The weather can be a factor as well. Hopefully we can re-create [the aircraft's condition] before and after the crash,” CAAP director-general William Hotchkiss III told reporters.
The CAAP earlier created a three-man team to conduct an inquiry into the crash. The team is currently in Masbate to examine the wreckage of the Piper PA-34 Seneca aircraft that was recovered from the sea.
The team will be interviewing at least three witnesses who could shed light on the pre-flight preparations and the final communications between the aircraft and the airport control tower at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
The lone survivor in the crash, Robredo’s aide, Chief Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, will also be invited to testify.
Hotchkiss said that the recovery of the two engines of the Piper Seneca aircraft would be important, although he said foreign expertise would have to be consulted to determine if the crash was engine-related.
“The Philippines has no capability to look into an engine and see what was wrong with it. We’ll have to send for an expert outside of the country before we can render a judgment. There might have been engine failure; one or two engines might have failed,” he added.
Hotchkiss did not say which experts would be consulted by the CAAP. Piper Seneca aircraft are manufactured by Piper Aircraft Inc. based in Vero Beach, Florida.
The CAAP earlier suspended the flying school and air taxi operations of Aviatour Air, which owned the downed Piper Seneca aircraft.
The CAAP has yet to conclude its investigation of a March accident involving another Aviatour plane that crashed in Camiguin, killing the pilot and a Norwegian passenger.