Xiamen pilot blames heavy rains for NAIA runway overshoot: sources

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2018 02:37 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2018 04:27 PM

Rescue workers walk past the detached left engine of a Xiamen Air Boeing 737-800 after it skidded off at the runway of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Friday. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA -- The Chinese pilot of the plane that skidded off the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport blamed heavy rains for the accident that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights over the weekend, ABS-CBN sources said Sunday.

The Xiamen Airlines aircraft on Thursday evening landed on its second attempt before skidding onto the grass, ripping off its left engine and blocking the runway of the NAIA until Saturday noon.

The aircraft's pilot claimed that rains obstructed his view of the runway during landing, when he faced an initial investigation at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), according to a senior official of the agency who declined to be named.

However, a voice recording between the air traffic controller and Xiamen Airlines flight MF8667 indicated no distress message, unusual conversation or any explanation from the pilot as to why he aborted his first approach, the ABS-CBN source said.

The CAAP has recovered the plane's black box and flight data recorder, which contain the cockpit voice recording and data on the condition of the aircraft.

The flight data recorder will be analyzed in Singapore, one source said.

"All the technical details encoded on the flight data recorder will help in the analysis on the condition of the Boeing 737 plane while the statement of the pilot and crew is vital to determine human factor," the CAAP official said.

Xiamen aviation authorities will meet with CAAP and have asked for a full report of the accident, said Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal.

Report from Raoul Esperas, ABS-CBN News