Agojo Resort in Calamba city was aflame after the crash of a twin-engine plane that killed its nine passengers and injured two resort caretakers. (PNA photo)

Calamba City, Laguna – A medical evacuation plane exploded in mid-air killing nine of its passengers before crashing into a hotspring resort village in Barangay Pansol.

According to Lt. Col. Jacinto Malinao, Calamba City chief of police, the 11-seater Lion Air B350 Beechcraft twin-engine aircraft was transporting a patient from Dipolog City to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City.

The chief of police identified the nine passengers as pilot Capt. Jesus Hernandez; co-pilot First Officer Lino Cruz Jr.; Dr. Garret Garcia; nurses Kirk Eoin Badiola and Yamato Togawa; Ryx Gil Laput; Raymond Bulacja, FM; patient Tom Carr and the patient’s wife Erma Carr.

He noted that the aircraft left Dipolog City airport around 1:40 p.m. Sunday but burst aflame in mid-air causing it to plunge at past 3 p.m into the private resort found inside Barangay Pansol’s Miramonte Subdivision.

Meanwhile at the crash site, resort caretakers John Rey Roca, 19 and Malou Roca, 49, were taken to Jose P. Rizal District Hospital after being injured.

The Calamba City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by Jeffrey Rodriguez was warned by villagers of the accident when the latter spotted the plane’s burning debris landing at the Agojo Resort.

The neighboring Sun City Resort and the “poblacion” residential area also suffered from falling aircraft debris.

Officials are conducting an investigation as to the cause of the mid-air explosion.

“Inaantay pa po namin ang representative ng CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) para doon sa pag-check nila sa black-box and other debris of the plane para ma-check ‘yung cause ng crash at ma-turn over ‘yung iba pang mga parts o debris.”  Rodriguez said. (Jojo Mangahis)