Group asks MIAA to inspect NAIA lightning arresters

Posted at 07/10/14 2:32 PM

MANILA – Non-government organization Air Safety Foundation is urging the Manila International Airport Authority to regularly inspect all the lightning arresters within the airport complex following the lightning death of a ground mechanic.

Captain Amado Soliman, Air Safety Foundation president, said the death of Celdon Abalang should prompt airport authorities to regularly have the airport lightning arresters checked.

"Lightning strike is a major threat to the safety of the aircraft and all people at the airport. If the lightning arrester will not be inspected, it will always pose danger to lives and destruction of properties," Soliman said.

Abalang, 25, was an aircraft mechanic from the A+ Aviation, a contractor of Cebu Pacific. He was guiding a plane at Bay 109 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 when lightning hit its rear portion at around 7:30 p.m.

Authorities said electricity traveled from the plane to the headset Abalang was wearing since it was connected to the plane. The mechanic succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.

Soliman said the lightning arrester installed near Gate 109 was obviously defective at the time of the incident.

Soliman explained that the regular inspection of all airport lightning arresters is a standard safety practice observed by airports around the world.

Soliman added that during thunderstorms, all tarmac operations should be suspended to ensure the safety of ground crew.

For his part, NAIA 3 general manager Octavio Lina said he has instructed the airport's safety department to inspect the airport's lightning arresters. – Raoul Esperas