Eight people die as ambulance plane is engulfed by fire at Manila airport

MANILA – Eight people were killed when an ambulance plane caught fire as it was taxiing on a runway at Manila’s main airport on Sunday (March 29) evening.

A flight manifest showed the plane was carrying a sick Canadian and his American companion, three pilots, a doctor, a nurse and a flight medic. All died.

The incident happened at around 8pm.

The plane, operated by charter service Lionair, was headed to Tokyo, in Japan.

Photos posted on social media showed a ball of fire blazing from the middle of the fuselage, and then the entire plane ablaze.

It was not immediately announced why the patient was being evacuated by air to Tokyo.

The Health Ministry issued a statement dismissing reports that it chartered the plane to ferry medical supplies to areas hit by a coronavirus spreading across the Philippines.

The airport has been closed to nearly all commercial flights since the Philippine government put the northern third of the country on lockdown to contain the outbreak.

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