CAAP: Jet fuel load hampered recovery of stuck Xiamen Air plane
About three tons of flammable jet fuel carried by the stuck Xiamen Air aircraft made recovery efforts difficult, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.
CAAP Spokesperson Eric Apolonio said on Tuesday that aside from weather conditions and the airliner being heavy, Xiamen flight MF 8667 had plenty of fuel, forcing them to be extra careful in handling it.
“Ang nangyari ngayon, natanggal, na-detach ‘yong isang engine at tsaka ‘yong gulong, bumaon lalo doon sa soft spot sa side ng runway, sa gilid,” Apolonio said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.
“‘Yan ang naging problema, masyadong mabigat hindi mailalagay ‘yong lifter kaagad doon sa ilalim. Kailangan i-angat ng kaunti, but the danger of it is meron doon na three tons of fuel,” he explained.
According to Apolonio, the reason why they were not able to fully explain the details of the delay was to avoid alarming the public and causing panic.
“Hindi rin naman namin masabi noon ‘yon dahil nag-eextract pa kami, dahil baka it might alarm the public,” he said.
“We tried our best kasi for CAAP ‘yong safety ang (inuuna) namin talaga eh,” he noted. “Eh kung pipilitin namin para mapagbigyan ‘yong kanilang gusto, napakahirap naman ho dahil one small bolt of anything na nagkalat dyan sa runway, catastrophic ang nagiging resulta.”
On Thursday night, the Xiamen Air Boeing 737-800 skidded and got stuck at the runway after landing under heavy rain. The runway mishap caused multiple canceled flights and left many passengers stranded at the departure areas.
READ: Xiamen Air jet stuck at NAIA runway; flights canceled, diverted
Xiamen Air has since apologized, but lawmakers have called for an investigation on the runway excursion and on the alleged slow response time of concerned authorities.
On the other hand, Apolonio assured travelers that traveling by air is still one of the safest modes of transportation.
“Travel by air is still the safest, sa data ho kasi, sa mga aksidente in the whole world, para ang isang eroplano ay bumagsak, (chances are) is one in a million,” he said.
“Sa panig ho ng CAAP, dito sa Philippine airspace, may checklist po ‘yan, hindi po namin ina-allow syempre ‘yong mga airline na pumasok dito kung […] ‘yong service record niyan, nasa amin lahat ‘yan,” he added. /muf
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