Manila, Nov. 11 (Reuters): A passenger plane, trailing smoke from its left engine, plunged into Manila Bay shortly after taking off from the Philippine capital today, with 18 of the 34 people aboard killed or missing and presumed dead.
Sixteen people, including two Australians, were rescued.
One Filipino survivor said he held onto one of the passengers to push himself up through the water but did not immediately realise he was clinging to a dead person. Hours after the Fokker plane crashed into murky waters around 11 metres deep, only 14 bodies — some still strapped in their seats — had been recovered by rescue teams. They included the bodies of two Australians and one Britisher.
The coast guard said rescuers had shifted from a search and rescue phase to “search and retrieval operations”, suggesting all hope of finding four others had been abandoned.