9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

Rescuers and investigators stand at the site where a twin-engined plane crashed into a house just after taking off in Plaridel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines: A small passenger plane carrying five people crashed into a house shortly after takeoff north of Manila on Saturday and killed all those onboard and four people on the ground, officials said.
The Piper-23 Apache plane took off from the airport in Plaridel town in Bulacan province then crash-landed Saturday for a still-unknown reason and smashed into a house, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio and police said.
All five Filipinos on board the six-seat plane were killed, and the crash killed four people on the ground, Plaridel police chief Supt. Julio Lizardo said by phone. The crash ignited a fire in a house that was hit by the aircraft, he said.
Two other people on the ground were injured by burning debris, Lizardo said.
TV footage showed parts of the plane wreckage and the shattered walls of the house at the still-smoldering crash site.
Rescuers were looking for at least 1 missing person in the rubble of the house.
Apolonio said the aircraft, which was operated by Lite Air Express, was bound for northern Laoag city. All the aircraft operated by the transport and courier company were grounded while investigators tried to determine the cause of the crash, he said.


Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

Updated 19 min 17 sec ago
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Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

  • Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
  • Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron fired the head of his personal security detail on Friday but faced criticism for failing to act sooner, after a video was released showing the man posing as a police officer and beating a protester while off duty in May.
Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
He had initially been suspended for just 15 days and allowed to return to work. Just days ago he was seen in public helping to organize security for celebrations for the return of France’s World Cup champion soccer team.
Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.
In the footage, which was released on Wednesday by Le Monde newspaper, Benalla can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator. On Friday, French media released a second video which showed Benalla also manhandling the woman.
He had been given permission by the president’s office to attend the protests as an observer of the security operation, but had no authorization to take part in police work.
The president’s office brushed off accusations that it had responded only because the nearly three-month-old videos had become public. It said the decision had now been taken to fire Benalla because the bodyguard had improperly obtained a document while trying to make his case over the accusations.
“New facts that could constitute a misdemeanour by Alexandre Benalla were brought to the president’s attention,” an official at the presidential palace told Reuters. “As a result ... the presidency has decided to start Alexandre Benalla’s dismissal procedure.”
Critics of Macron called the president’s delayed response a characteristic sign that he is out of touch. It follows controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool at a presidential retreat and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.
After hours of debate in the lower house on Thursday, lawmakers agreed to launch a parliamentary inquiry.
“Why did he protect this person? Does he head up a parallel police force? Refusing to answer makes (Macron) complicit in these acts of violence,” Eric Ciotti, a senior member of the conservative Republicans party, said on Twitter.