Airplane crashes into Philippine school, 13 killed

Plane

A light airplane crashed into a school building Saturday near the Philippine capital after its pilot requested an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, killing at least 13 people, including two children.

The plane burst into flames after hitting the school, said Mayor Florencio Bernabe of suburban Paranaque city.

No classes were in session when the plane hit, but officials were determining how many on the ground were injured or killed, he said.

Firefighters reported that the bodies were charred and that the dead included the pilot and the co-pilot -- the only two people on the plane, Bernabe said.

Police Senior Inspector Dennis Sirilan said the fire spread rapidly to nearby shanties that surround the school after the twin-engine plane crashed.

Sirilan said he saw the aircraft ''twirling'' in the air before it slammed into the F. Serrano Elementary School, which was severely damaged by the fire.

Firefighters were hampered in quickly reaching the scene by the narrow streets in the community. The area was still smoldering after the fire was brought under control about three hours later.

Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang said the dead included an infant and a child.

She said at least 10 people were brought to a hospital, including five with major burns.

Civil Aviation Authority chief Ramon Gutierrez said the six-to-eight-seat Beechcraft Queen Air plane sent out a distress call shortly after taking off from Manila for Mindoro Island. The plane crashed before it was able to return to the airport.

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