Manila: A four-seater cargo plane on Saturday
crashed onto a crowded Philippine slum, sparking a fire that
killed 13 people and left five missing and at least another 20
injured, officials said.
The crash and the resulting blaze killed both the pilot,
co-pilot, and their lone passenger while the other fatalities
are thought to be residents of the shanty town, said chief
inspector Wilson Tana, a fire investigator.
"The fire department got here quickly, but we had trouble
because the passageways are so narrow," he said.
"There might be more bodies," he added as firefighters
cleared away blackened sheets of corrugated iron in search of
bodies that might have been pinned underneath.
At least five other residents of the burnt shanties are
missing, Tana said.
However, investigators had not brought search lights and
the search effectively stopped as night fell among the twisted
wreckage of burnt slum homes, a news agency reporter saw.
A news agency photographer on the scene said the fire gutted a
2,000-square-metre section of the slum that stood either side
of an open sewer.
The blaze also engulfed a nearby elementary school, but
it was empty at the time because it was a weekend, Philippine
National Red Cross secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said.
"I thought it would crash on me," said resident Randy
Molina, recounting the stricken plane's final moments as it
tried to return to nearby Manila airport after detecting
unspecified trouble shortly after take-off.
First Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011, 00:02