Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- ِAbdul-Rahman al-Ghubain, a Saudi Arabian national undergoing flight training in the Philippines revealed that he and his Filipino flight instructor survived their Cessna 152 aircraft crashing into a rice field, suffering only minor leg injuries.
Al-Ghubain, who was taking part in a training exercise when the plane went down, spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone and dismissed claims that other Saudi students had been injured in the crash. Al-Ghubain confirmed that he was flying the airplane when it crashed, and added that this crash is being investigated by the Filipino authorities in order to determine its cause.
Describing what happened that day, al-Ghubain told Asharq Al-Awsat “I started the airplane’s engine at 5.50 am on Saturday, after we had made a full examination of the plane, which is the standard procedure according to the safety regulations of the International Air Transport Association [IATA]. We completed the safety procedures after starting the engine…there were no malfunctions in the airplane’s speedometers, but the engine began to lose power after we were 100 feet off the ground.”
Al-Ghubain went on to say that this loss of power caused the airplane to deviate to the right, whilst trying to control this he caused the plane to bank left strongly. Al-Ghubain also pointed out that when he finally managed to get the airplane on the right heading, the engines cut out at 150 feet, this forced the flight instructor to intervene and crash-land the aircraft in one of the rice fields in the region.
Abdul-Rahman al-Ghubain, 30 years old, said that the landing was successful but that the aircraft flipped over when its front frame collided with one of the barriers that divides the rice fields. Al-Ghubain informed Asharq Al-Awsat that he then checked on his own safety, and that of his flight instructor, before safely exiting the aircraft.
He said that there were no serious injuries as a result of the crash, but that he and his instructor had both suffered minor scratches on their legs. Al-Ghubain stressed that the aircraft’s engine had been fully tested prior to take off, and that everything was in full working order.
When asked about the reason for the engine’s loss of power, al-Ghubain refused to comment and said that investigations are ongoing in order to determine the cause for the malfunction. He added that accidents such as this can occur anywhere in the world, and that the safety procedures that he followed were the same in every country.
Trainee Pilot Abdul-Rahman al-Ghubain was undergoing a training exercise with his flight instructor Captain Youmil Ilheckan in a Cessna 152 aircraft when it crashed at 6:10 am.
For his part, Captain Jeremias L. Testado, President and CEO of the Delta Air Aviation School in Manila stressed that this was the first accident to have taken place since the schools foundation in 2001.
Captain Testado informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a Saudi student graduated from the school less than a month ago, and that seven other Saudi students are currently enrolled. Captain Testado refused to comment on the details of the incident as investigations are ongoing.