‘FAA, NTSB now probing Saipan crash’

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The plane crash that happened late afternoon on Monday at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, which injured its pilot and a female passenger, is now under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

According to Commonwealth Ports Authority deputy director Edward B. Mendiola, CPA provided a complete report filled with information and photos to the FAA and NTSB after the investigation done by the airline company, Star Marianas Airlines.

“FAA and NTSB have received the report and we were told they will look at it and, if they need more information, they will get back to us,” he said.

Mendiola said that CPA has yet to hear back from the two federal agencies “so we believe that everything is in order,” he said.

CPA is in charge of verifying the information that comes in before a report is transmitted to FAA and NTSB.

According to Star Marianas administrative manager Alma G. Canlas, the crash was caused by what she termed as “performance loss.”

Canlas earlier said the pilot repeatedly experienced loss of performance and decided to return to the airport but was unable to complete the landing on the runway.

Mendiola said the flight was a discovery or aerial tour flight, which takes up tourists in the air to fly around the island of Saipan and other nearby islands.

“A lot of them take off everyday but this is the first incident or crash from a discovery flight. We are glad that there were no serious fatalities and that the two passengers incurred minor injuries,” he said.

“CPA is very much involved in the rescue and recovery part. We give credit to our regular…disaster drill exercise, which is a requirement from FAA for each certificated airport,” he added.

The Saipan airport is tasked to perform a large drill every three years. For this year, it will happen either in the last week of March or in early April, Mendiola said.

In August last year, a Star Marianas aircraft had to make an emergency landing following a bird strike that crippled its landing gear. The aircraft was being flown by Capt. Jun Shimada, who was able to land the aircraft safely at the Saipan airport with all its passengers and crew unharmed.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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