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11 December 2011

Wreckage searched for clues

Manila - Philippine investigators were on Sunday combing through the smouldering wreckage of a Manila slum, hunting for more victims of a light plane crash as well as clues over the accident that left at least 13 dead.

The cargo plane plunged into the shanty town on Saturday, exploding on impact and causing a fire that gutted a huge section of the slum that stands on either side of an open sewer.

The pilot, co-pilot, and a third person on board were killed, and the other deaths were residents who died in the inferno that destroyed dozens of simple dwellings.

Five other people were reported missing, according to residents, while at least 20 were injured.

Emergency crews said they were carefully sifting through the rubble in hopes of finding bodies beneath.

"DNA testing will be done to identify bodies", said Philippine Red Cross secretary general Gwendolyn Pang.

She said the injured had serious burns and were being treated at a hospital, including seven children who had been playing near the site where the plane crashed.

About 200 families made homeless by the blaze were transferred to a basketball court which was converted into an evacuation site and will likely spend Christmas there, social workers said.

Yellow tape cordoned off the crash site, the once tightly packed area now reduced to heaps of smashed cinder blocks and twisted sheets of corrugated metal roofing.

- AFP/News24