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Plane Crashes in Philippines; All 50 Perish

June 27, 1987|United Press International

BAGUIO, Philippines — A Philippine Airlines turboprop airliner slammed into a northern fog-shrouded mountain Friday, plunged into a ravine and burst into flames, killing all 50 people aboard. Up to 10 Americans were believed among the dead.

The PAL twin-engine Hawker Siddeley 748 carrying 46 passengers and four crew members crashed into 5,800-foot Mt. Ugo as it was nearing the end of a 55-minute domestic flight from Manila to the northern resort city of Baguio, about 125 miles away.

"It was a total wreck," said Capt. Antonio Badijes, chief of the Manila rescue coordinating center. "There were no survivors. All the bodies were burned beyond recognition."

"It was still burning when the American helicopters arrived hours later," he said.

Richard Arcillaga, an engineer for the Heald Lumber Co. on Mt. Ugo, about 9 miles southeast of Baguio, said the plane crashed into the company's logging operation on the pine-covered mountain and fell into a deep ravine, bursting into flames.

Several Americans Aboard

A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman confirmed that "several Americans were on the plane" but said their names would not be released until their families were notified.

Capt. Maryellen Jadick, public affairs officer at Clark Air Base, which dispatched three helicopters to help in the search efforts, said, "I've heard there were 10 Americans aboard."

A PAL employee said a Filipino-American family of five perished in the crash, along with an American family of three. Eight Japanese passengers also were reported aboard.

John B. Neill, the president and director of Texas Instruments' Philippines operations, was among the dead, the company said. Neill, of Wills Point, Tex., had been with Texas Instruments for more than 25 years. He was named director of the company's Philippines operation, in Baguio, in January.

PAL spokesman Ruben Navarro said the plane's pilot, Capt. Rosauro Bustamante, in his last communication with the Baguio control tower about 15 minutes before he was scheduled to land, asked for a weather report and was told visibility was poor because of rain and heavy fog.

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