Caticlan Airport closes after plane crash

11 Jan 2009 by intern22

Caticlan Airport in the Philippines, the major gateway to the resort island of Boracay, is temporarily closed after a Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit) crashed this morning.

Reports said ZEST Flight 865 undershot the airport runway at 0657 this morning after strong winds caused the plane’s landing gear to explode and then swerved 180 degrees upon hitting the barrier at the airport runway. The plane then crashed into airport passenger lounge.

The plane was carrying 23 mostly Boracay-bound passengers. Initial reports said 15 people were hurt in the accident, including 2 children and 1 crewmember aboard the light aircraft.

Meanwhile, a Cebu Pacific ATR aircraft is currently grounded at the airport. Many weekend passengers were scheduled to leave the island this morning, but only one Cebu Pacific flight was able to take off before the airport closure.

Cebu Pacific communications manager RG Orense said in an advisory that the airline will try to accommodate passengers affected by flights scheduled to use the grounded ATR aircraft.

In the meantime, some Cebu Pacific flights to and from Caticlan will continue to operate from Kalibo airport, which is about 45 minutes to 1 and half hours away by bus or minivan depending on traffic conditions.

Gigi Onag

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