Air travel can be both an opportunity for good and bad experiences. Riddled with so many potential pitfalls, flying has become eerily attractive with all the things that could go wrong. But what if the airport, just like the Ninoy Aquino Internation Airport (NAIA), is equipped with a dark attraction of its own?
NAIA can be considered as one of the places of doom in the Philippines with all its glorious share of horrors that have all but left in its wake strong feelings of fear and sadness, along with endless what-ifs and what-could-have-beens to those left behind.
As another round of darkness and tension settle over the country, let us take a look at the most horrifying incidents that the controversial airport has ever hosted since it was moved to its current location in 1948.
1. The Ninoy Aquino assassination (August 21, 1983)
It was a sunny day in August 1983 when former Senator Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. received a welcoming gift - a single bullet shot at close range (about 18 inches away) to the head - as he was getting off China Airlines Flight 811 (CAL flight 811). Reports had it that Ninoy was killed with a .357 Magnum after he touched down at the Manila International Airport (MIA), which is now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
2. The Jet Crash (July 21, 1989)
On July 21, 1989, a Philippine Airlines jet, British Aircraft Corp. (BAC) 1-11, had been carrying 93 passengers and five crew members when it overshot the runway while landing, slamming through traffic on the adjacent highway, and ending on a railroad track. There were no reported casualties from those aboard the plane but the incident had successfully claimed the lives of eight people who were in their cars.
3. The explosion at the airport (May 11, 1990)
It was a Boeing 737-700 (Philippine Airline Flight 143 - PR143) that suffered an explosion in the central fuel tank. According to reports on the incident, the central tank, which had not been filled for days exploded, causing the wing tanks to rapture and set the plane on fire. While most of the 113 passengers and 6 crews were able escape via the emergency chutes, the incident reportedly resulted in the death of 8 - six adults and one child.
4. NAIA Tower Siege (November 8, 2003)
This may not be the smartest move for former Air Transportation Office (ATO) chief Panfilo Villaruel and former Navy commando Lt. (sg) Richard Gatchillar, but it sure is an original one for the books. Armed to their teeth with guns and explosives on November 8, 2003, the two seized the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)-Terminal II control tower and held it for three hours before dawn, claiming that they want to expose government corruption. The attempt, however, failed after two teams of police under the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Division came and ended the siege.
5. The mass shooting (December 20, 2013)
The mass shooting may not be the scariest on this list, but it sure is the most disturbing as the shooting, which was merely aimed to kill Zamboanga Mayor Ukol Talumpa of Labangan, also killed his wife and nephew, and 18-month-old Gil Thomas Estuesta Lirazan as they were coming out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 arrival area on December 20, 2013. According to reports, the 17 shells from caliber .45 pistol used in the shooting also injured five others.
6. The tragic NAIA suicide (July 21, 2016)
At around 7:30 p.m., on July 21, a janitress working for the Manila International Airport Authority has made the most horrifying discovery - the dead body of Korean national An San Kwan, 50, seated on the floor with a bag strap around his neck. Apparently, this Korean national was a passenger on a Cebu Pacific flight from Taipei, who was barred by immigration officials from entering the country.
7. The Saudia scare (September 20, 2016)
Saudia Airlines Flight SV872 was put in isolation by the aviation authorities after the pilot reportedly press the distress button and advised Manila Control Tower that the plane 'is under threat' on Tuesday, September 20. Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has since debunked the rumors saying that it was merely a false alarm. MIAA has also clarified that the panic was due to the pilot's alleged pressing of the distress button twice - by mistake.