* Jet was carrying eight crates (one ton) of gold during take-off.
* Each crate weighed 250 pounds.
* Value over US$10,000,000.
* This gold was recovered from a Mindanao treasure site.


MINDANAO ISLAND (Philippines) - An overloaded eight-seater plane owned by the Banco Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) crashed into a ravine at the Davao International Airport after a failed takeoff yesterday noon, injuring 12 passengers, two of them seriously.

The plane with body number RP C1980 was also carrying eight crates of gold and an undetermined amount of cash.

Philippine National Police (PNP) 7th Aviation Security Command (Ascom) chief Major Arturo Evangelista said the plane was bound for Manila when it failed to take off at 11:55 a.m., forcing the pilot to manuever a 'break' and release the emergency brake.

But Evangelista said the emergency chute broke before it could stop the plane which fell into a ravine at the end of the 2.5-kilometer airport runway.

Seriously wounded were pilot Capt. Bienvenido Gorospe and co-pilot Teofilo Balinghasay.

Also injured were chief mechanic Aquilino Lugo and passengers Victor Callejo; Cesar Callejo; Oscar Pimping, 50 and a resident of Fabie Subdivision, Paco, Metro Manila; Alfred Bonilla, 46, of Flores Subdivision, Moonwalk Village, Metro Manila; Leticia Fortun, 46; Andres Paulino, 34; Syvie Gorospe, Dominic Gorospe, and one-year-old John Dominic Gorospe.

Evangelista said the rescue teams used a chainsaw to open the tail-end of the plane to pull out the passengers who were trapped inside.

Because of their condition, he said a rescue helicopter of the Composite Air Support Force (CASF) airlifted the passengers to the Davao Medical Center but chose to be transferred to San San Pedro Hospital. Except for one who was able to walk, all had to be carried in stretchers.

A hospital nurse said the victims appeared to be out of danger, except for the pilot and his co-pilot who are still being examined by doctors.

Meantime, Air Traffic Services chief Roland Vivar said an aircraft investigator from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board in Manila is expected to arrive anytime now to investigate the incident.

The jet broke in three places with its two landing gear some 10 meters from the body.

The nose of the plane was found just a few meters from the residence of a certain Tiago Bacolcol.

The twin-engined aircraft, according to ATO, arrived in Davao City at about 11:30 a.m. and was supposed to leave Davao at 11:45 a.m.
Jet crashes at Davao airport; 12 injured
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