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They’re all safe: Ochoa, Coloma on light plane that skidded in Tacloban


(UPDATED 4:09 p.m.) Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. were on board the private jet that skidded off the runway of the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport in Tacloban City upon its takeoff Saturday.
 
Aside from Ochoa and Coloma, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said those on board also included Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista and the officials’ staff and security. A total of 15 passengers were on board the plane, including three airplane staff. 
 
“Lahat sila safe. Chine-check up lang sila ngayon,” Roxas told dzBB radio. 
 
Roxas said the aircraft veered off course as it was about to take off from the runway.
 
"Kapansin-pansin sa mga nanonood na nagbago ang arangkada ng eroplano," he said. 
 
The aircraft, which was identified as a Bombardier Global Express plane, was rented by the government, Roxas said.

Tire burst

Tacloban officials at the airport said they heard what seemed like an explosion on one of the tires before the the light plane carrying Cabinet members skidded on the runway of the Tacloban airport on Saturday afternoon.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez told reporters he heard the loud sound.

His cousin Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez also heard the explosion.

Malacañang statement
 
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said all passengers of the plane did not sustain any injuries. The families of those on board have also been notified that the passengers are safe, he added.
 
“The President was happy to hear that all on board were safe and directed the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to investigate whether the proximate cause of the incident was weather-related or otherwise,” Lacierda said in a statement.
 
He said the Ochoa and the other Cabinet officials flew to Tacloban City to ensure that the activities of Pope Francis in Leyte will go on as planned. —Xianne Arcangel/NB, GMA News

Note: This update corrects the earlier report that the Leyte congressman was onboard the plane.
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