• Cebu Pacific under fire over viral video

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    THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) will investigate budget carrier Cebu Pacific after a video showing passengers in panic and a woman fainting probably from heat inside the plane went viral.

    “Please be informed that the DOTr, through its Undersecretary for Aviation Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo, has already instructed the Civil Aeronautics Board to look into this and act accordingly,” the agency said in a statement.

    The management of Cebu Pacific Air on Saturday apologized for the incident.

    “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these incidents may have caused and appeal for understanding,” the budget carrier said.

    A video posted on Facebook and uploaded on GMA News showed passengers of Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 575 bound for Cebu in panic, while forcing airline personnel to let them deplane.

    The video, which got more than 1.8 million views and posted by Gin Durano on Facebook, shows a woman fainting, probably from heat inside the plane as the air-conditioning system malfunctioned.

    Passengers can also be heard asking Cebu Pacific personnel to open the windows. A female voice can also be heard requesting passengers to remain seated.

    Later on, a female voice probably from a female flight attendant, was heard asking for a “doctor on board” or any medically qualified person to attend to an emergency.

    “Babies are crying, old people are complaining and there’s a woman who got suffocated and now she has oxygen on because she can’t breathe. We’ve been here for more than an hour inside the plane. Freaking damn hot! They didn’t even do anything until the woman passed out. I Super Love You Cebu Pacific!” Durano said in her Facebook post.

    The DOTr said Civil Aeronautics Board Chief Legal Officer Wyrlou Samodio has directed Cebu Pacific to investigate the matter thoroughly and submit an incident report within one hour from notice.

    “Should DOTr-CAB find out that Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 575 went beyond the prescribed two-hour period to deplane its passengers due to long tarmac delays, Cebu Pacific shall be held liable for the penalty prescribed under the regulation,” the DOTr said.

    “Further, if found to have violated the regulation, the pilot shall likewise be held liable as he has the obligation to order the deplaning. CAB shall endorse the case of the pilot to CAAP [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] for appropriate action, since the latter exercises jurisdiction over airmen,” it added.

    In a separate statement, Cebu Pacific said its flight 5J 575 bound to Cebu from Manila encountered a delay from debris that had to be cleared from the runway late on Friday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    “During that time, one passenger fainted, prompting emergency medical assistance,” the airline said.

    “Following reports from our crew that the cabin temperature was warm, Cebu Pacific decided to change the aircraft for the comfort of our passengers,” the airline added.

    Cebu Pacific pointed out that its cabin crew and ground personnel assisted all passengers and handled the transfer to the replacement aircraft.

    “The flight departed Manila at about 7:32 p.m. and landed safely in Cebu at 8:52 p.m.,” the airline said.

    WITH BENJIE L. VERGARA

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