Cebu Pacific Flight 387

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Cebu Pacific Flight 387
Douglas Curtis - 9 Cebu-Pacific PH.jpg
A Cebu Pacific DC-9 similar to the aircraft involved in the incident.
Date2 February 1998
SummaryControlled flight into terrain, Cause Disputed

-Possible Pilot Error

-Lack of Pilot Training
SiteMount Sumagaya, Philippines
08°38′56.20″N 125°01′59.60″E / 8.6489444°N 125.0332222°E / 8.6489444; 125.0332222Coordinates: 08°38′56.20″N 125°01′59.60″E / 8.6489444°N 125.0332222°E / 8.6489444; 125.0332222
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
OperatorCebu Pacific Air
Flight originNinoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, Philippines
StopoverDaniel Z. Romualdez Airport, Tacloban, Philippines
DestinationLumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Cebu Pacific Flight 387 was a domestic Cebu Pacific flight from Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City on Mindanao. On 2 February 1998, the 31-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 crashed on the slopes of Mount Sumagaya in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. The incident resulted in the deaths of all 104 passengers and crew on board the aircraft.[1][2]


Route of the flight


The aircraft involved in the accident was a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (registration number RP-C1507) and was delivered to Air Canada in September 1967 before was purchased by Cebu Pacific in March 1997.

Passengers and crew[edit]

The plane carried five crew members and 94 Filipino passengers, including five children. Five passengers were from Australia, Austria, Japan, Switzerland[2] and Canada. Additionally, a surgeon on a medical mission was from the United States.[3]


The plane left Manila at 0100 GMT and was scheduled to arrive at 0303 GMT in Cagayan de Oro. The plane made a stopover at Tacloban on 0220 GMT, though sources differ about whether it was a scheduled or unscheduled stop.[3][4] According to one source, the flight made an unscheduled stop at Tacloban to deliver a needed airplane tire for another Cebu Pacific aircraft in Tacloban. The last contact was 15 minutes before the plane was due to land, with the airport's ATC. In that transmission, the pilot said he was 68 kilometres (42 mi; 37 nmi) from the airport and was starting to descend. There was no indication that the plane was in trouble. The plane crashed 45 kilometres (28 mi; 24 nmi) away from the airport.[3]


The cause of the crash is still a source of controversy in the Philippines. Colonel Jacinto Ligot was the chief of the Philippine Air Force rescue team, which faced difficulties due to the deep ravines and dense vegetation on the slopes of the mountain. The pilots were flying visually, not instrumentally, when the plane vanished from radar.[2] While the skies were clear at the airport, the mountains may have been covered by fog. Chief of Staff General Clemente Mariano speculated that the plane "almost cleared the top of the mountain, but it may have suffered a down-draft, causing it to hit the mountain."[3] Jesus Dureza, the crisis manager during the rescue and retrieval operations, said he found out the Air Transportation Office maps used by the pilots listed the elevation of Mt. Sumagaya at 5,000 feet above sea level, while the mountain actually is 6,000 feet above sea level. This error might have misled the pilots to believe that they were clear of terrain, while in fact they were flying dangerously low. The ATO, on the other hand, pointed out in its official report deficiencies in the training of the pilots.[5]


  1. ^ "Air disasters timeline". BBC News. 2016-12-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Weather hampers Philippine air crash search". BBC News. 1998-02-04. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  3. ^ a b c d "Passenger crash rescuers find no survivors". CNN. 1998-02-04. Retrieved 2007-04-04.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Passenger plane missing in the Philippines". BBC News. 1998-02-02. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  5. ^ "15 years after flight 387 crashed questions remain unanswered". Mindanews. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-09-01.

External links[edit]

Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network