Plane Hits Empty School

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Authorities in the Philippines are focusing on the fuel system of a Beech Queen Air that crashed into a school in the Manila suburb of Paranaque City on Saturday killing at least 13 people, including 11 on the ground, and leveling the school. Only the two pilots and one passenger were aboard the aircraft. Because it was a Saturday, there were no classes and a much bigger loss of life was avoided. The plane exploded on impact and caught the school building and adjacent shanty homes on fire and it took three hours to quell the flames. The pilots had requested an emergency landing shortly after takeoff.

Philippine media say the pilot reported a dual engine failure shortly after takeoff and tried to make it back to the field. The aircraft was reportedly fully fueled before leaving. It came down in a poor area of makeshift homes and the resulting fire is blamed for the deaths of those on the ground. Philippine authorities have grounded the aircraft operator Innovative Technologies Inc. pending further investigation. The company operates a fleet of small cargo aircraft.