A Filipino pilot parachuted to safety from his jet after it suffered a near-fatal midair accident on Tuesday. Maverick Viñales made a dramatic descent at 228 kph (140 mph) after an engine failed in flight, narrowly avoiding an impact with nearby houses.
The area’s jumbo jet airport, Avusan de Sarangani International in Pampanga, saw several casualties; the worst being that of an Ecuadorian charter plane on which 35 passengers and crew members were on board.
“We are thankful the pilot handled himself in a way to save lives. I am so happy for that,” said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who was flying in another aircraft at the time of the incident.
The Sen. Trillanes also praised the Spanish-Brazilian company’s local staffers for their rapid and thorough response after the incident. They worked to evacuate the injured passengers, identify which one would be next in the small plane and later successfully recovered all debris from the incident, as well as reviewed footage of the crash.
The captain of the charter plane has since been suspended and is under investigation for not following standard procedures following the engine failure.