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Pilot error blamed for Robredo crash




04:47 AM November 9th, 2012

By: Paolo G. Montecillo, November 9th, 2012 04:47 AM

File photo of the wing wreckage of the doomed Piper Seneca plane that killed Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo last August 18. AP FILE PHOTO

Transportation Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya has confirmed that pilot error was one of the causes of the plane crash that killed Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo last August.

Though he decried the leak of the draft report on the crash from the the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Abaya said that, save for a few inconsistencies, the contents of the leaked report were accurate.

“It’s quite disappointing because we had very clear instructions,” he said about the leak of the 14-page report of the special investigating body that probed the plane crash.

“It has a lot of details and there are some inaccuracies, but it’s still fairly accurate,” he said.

Pilot lacked ability


According to the leaked report, Capt. Jessup Bahinting, the pilot and owner of the six-seater Piper Seneca plane that crashed off Masbate last Aug. 18, lacked the ability to handle the aircraft in bad weather conditions.

Bahinting and Nepalese student pilot Khshitiz Chand died with Robredo in the crash.

The draft report said Bahinting erred when he decided not to turn back to Cebu at the first sign of engine trouble. It said   the pilot had ignored orders by air safety authorities to remain at 2,500 feet given the abnormal circumstances.

Data from the Manila air control center showed the plane had climbed to 4,000 ft. before the crash, the draft report said.

The report also quoted the lone survivor, Jun Abrazado, Robredo’s police aide, as saying that “(s)uddenly, he saw the plane slowly veering to the left for (its) final approach to the runway but it seemed to him that the pilot had miscalculated the runway and maneuvered the plane too late, and they went past the runway.”

One of the few inaccuracies in the leaked report, Abaya said, was the claim that Chand was sitting on the captain’s seat.

“When (CAAP Director General) William Hotchkiss was asked by Senators (Panfilo) Lacson and (Ralph) Recto during the Senate hearing, it was clearly stated that Bahinting was in the pilot’s seat,” Abaya said.

The final report will be submitted to President Aquino who will first show it to Robredo’s widow before releasing it to the public, he said.

First posted 9:22 pm | Thursday, November 8th, 2012

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