Philippine Jet Crashes; Kills 8 on Road : Airliner Overshoots Manila Runway, Hits Expressway Traffic

From Times Wire Services

A Philippine Airlines jet carrying 98 people overshot an airport runway during a rainstorm today and slammed through traffic on a busy highway, killing eight people in their cars, police said.

No one aboard the British Aircraft Corp. BAC 1-11 plane was killed but at least 85 passengers and two flight attendants were injured, PAL spokesman Enrique Santos said.

Four people on the ground were seriously injured.

The dead were crushed in their cars when the twin-engine BAC 1-11 jet careened onto Manila's 12-lane South Expressway, said witnesses and officials at nearby hospitals. The plane then came to rest on a railroad track.

93 Passengers

The plane had carried 93 passengers and five crew members on a flight from the southern city of Zamboanga, Santos said.

The accident occurred during a heavy rain.

Crash survivor Roberto Mendoza, 56, said the aircraft bounced several times and skidded before coming to a halt.

"The pilot tried the brakes but the plane continued to skid. Then that's it--bang!--the plane hit something on the ground and came to a halt.

"When it stopped, the windows shattered and I jumped out. I thought I landed on the wings but then I found out it was the roof of a house," said Mendoza, who suffered a gash to his head.

"We landed, three, four, five, six times on the runway. We were actually bouncing," said David Tillson, a tourist from Tacoma, Wash.

Santos declined to speculate on the cause of the accident, saying that would be left to an investigation.

"Visibility was within (safe) limits for landing" despite the rainstorm, Santos said.

Part of the belly of the British Aircraft Corp. jet was ripped open.

Officials closed the highway to facilitate the rescue operation, which was hampered by the heavy rain and traffic jams on streets leading to the scene.

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