SAMAL, Philippines (AP) -- In the country's worst aviation disaster, an Air Philippines Boeing 737-200 crashed today in a foggy coconut grove in the southern Philippines, killing all 131 people aboard, officials said.
The plane took off from Manila and was unable to land on its first approach to Davao city because another plane was on the runway, air traffic controllers said.
The plane crashed on nearby Samal Island as it prepared to make another approach from the opposite direction, air traffic controllers said.
Air Philippines spokeswoman Leah Sison said all of the 124 passengers and seven crew members aboard were confirmed dead.
She said the airline had been told by the Australian Embassy that some Australians were among the passengers. There were no immediate reports of other foreigners.
The crash comes just two days after the a Federal Aviation Administration panel recommended that Boeing redesign the rudder assembly on all models of the Boeing 737, the most widely used passenger jet in the world.
The 737 rudder system, which controls left-right movement of the plane, came under close suspicion after the crash of USAir flight 427 near Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1994 that killed all 132 people aboard. A similar disaster had occurred in 1991, when United flight 585 crashed in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing 25.
In the Philippines today, visibility was intermittent at the time of the crash, air traffic controllers said. The Davao airport does not have all the equipment for instrument landings needed for low visibility conditions, and landings had been briefly suspended for several minutes before the plane's initial approach, officials said.
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