Pilot killed as spray plane nosedives into banana field
TAGUM CITY, Philippines – A pilot was killed when the light spray plane he was flying crashed in nearby Panabo City Friday morning, barely a week after a similar incident occurred in Montevista town in Compostela Valley, officials said.
Superintendent Glenn Cristenes, spokesman of the Davao del Norte police office, said Captain Napoleon Emia died from injuries he suffered when his plane (body no. RPR 1272) took a nosedive and crashed into a banana plantation of Lapanday Foods Corp. at around 8 a.m.
“Witnesses said the crop-duster [crashed] moments after taking off. [Evergreen] farm employees rushed to the crash site and pulled the victim from the wreckage. He was brought to Rivera Hospital at the city proper but attending physicians pronounced him dead upon arrival,” Cristenes told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
He said an investigation was being conducted by the Panabo City police and Civil Aviation Authority based in Davao City to determine the cause of the accident.
About a week ago, a spray plane hired by Japanese banana company Sumitumo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru) also crashed but its pilot survived.
Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley are two of the country’s biggest banana-producing provinces. Air accidents and mishaps are commonplace as growers of over 40,000 hectares of bananas in these areas rely on aging light aircraft for pesticides application.