Earlier plane mishap damaged Davao airport runway lights
DAVAO CITY—Minutes before Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-971 skidded off the runway at Davao International Airport on Sunday night, another plane from the same airline swerved after touchdown and hit the runway lights.
Sources from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) told the Inquirer that the first plane, a turboprop also owned by Cebu Pacific Air, hit two runway lights.
Minutes later, Flight 5J-971, an Airbus A320-200, landed in heavy rain, veered off the centerline, and fell nose first into a ditch.
CAAP sources said the turboprop plane, which came from Cagayan de Oro City, went into a skid on the rain-drenched runway because of strong winds.
A flight schedule post on Cebu Pacific’s website shows the daily Flight 5J-215, operated with a turboprop plane, arrives in Davao City at 6 in the evening.
The Airbus Flight 5J-971 touched down at 7:10 p.m. Sunday.
CAAP sources said they learned about the incident involving the turboprop plane only during the inspection of the runway on Monday.
“The pilot (of the smaller plane) did not report the incident,” a CAAP source said.
The plane’s wheels were damaged during the incident, another source said.
The damaged runway lights were immediately replaced, but the skid marks of the plane’s wheels remained, showing what had happened, the source added.
“If the turboprop plane veered off and fell on the grassy area, damage would have been less because the plane was small. It could be easily removed,” the source said.
Had the incident been properly reported, it would have helped if officials and pilots were advised about the situation on the ground, the source said.
The CAAP chief at Davao International Airport, Frederick San Felix, said he did not receive any report about the turboprop plane from airport personnel and the airline company.
“I will verify the incident,” San Felix told the Inquirer by phone.
On Tuesday night, at least 45 passengers, calling their group Flight 5J-971, met and agreed to bring a class suit against Cebu Pacific.
“We want to know what our value is for the company,” Andrew Bautista, one of the group’s leaders, told reporters when asked what the passengers expected to gain by pursuing the lawsuit.
“Somebody has to pay. This is not just about getting something from them,” he added.
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