The Flight 541 Crash Site, Samal Island.

The Flight 541 crash was one of the worst aviation disasters in Philippines history, and it goes without saying that you should treat the site with respect if you visit. This a somewhat sombre place, and certainly the place had a brooding dark air on the day of my visit as the cloud was low and the weather overcast. The small grove of mahogany trees that you see on my photo above is really all that now marks the actual site of the last resting place of Flight 541 the deadliest air disaster in the history of the Philippines. However if you look carefully you will see the skeleton of a serving trolley intertwined with one of the trees.

On April the 19th 2000 Flight 541 was on approach to the International Airport in Davao City when it was asked to perform a " go around " as there was another aircraft on the runway, this is a standard procedure meaning you circle round in a set configuration and make the final approach for landing when the runway is clear.

Sadly something then went badly wrong and shortly afterwards Flight 541 slammed into this hillside on Samal Island, there is some conjecture as to why this crash happened but you can " Google " this on other websites if you want to know more. All 124 passengers and 7 crew members died at this spot.

While taking in the place I had the opportunity to talk about the crash with local people who gathered because they were curious about my presence { A white guy on a push bike this high up } They told me that ghostly figures have often been spotted around the crash site area at dusk, mainly a woman in white and a small child who appears, plays amongst the mahogany trees and then vanishes. While I saw nothing myself, as I said above the place does seem to have a brooding air about it ...

As an ex-pilot myself I found this to be an emotional visit but I cannot help but think that it would be nice if there was some form of permanent memorial at the crash site, even a small one in memory to all those who died here.

This place is hard to find so here are some directions :

1. From the roll on roll off ferry turn left and proceed to Babak.

2. When you come to the main street in Babak just keep going straight do not turn right at any point.

3. Leave the town behind and stay on this road and pass through the countryside for a couple of kilometres or so and look out for the Monfort Bat Cave sign on both sides of the road.

4. Then carry on for a further mile or so and look for the Japanese Cave House signposted on your Left, more or less opposite you will see an unmade road on your right, this is where you have go, proceed along it for around 1.25 km and then take the main turning on your left.

5. Take this road for a further kilometre or so and then a turning on your right leads to a steep ascent with just two concrete strips on a rough unmade road, most people will be pushing their bikes up here.

6. At the top there are some small agricultural buildings but you bear right for a short distance until you see the grove of trees which marks the spot.

7. The roads leading to the crash site are not clear on online maps and the area is a maze of small tracks and turnings anyway so really the best advice is that once you are on your way on the road opposite The Japanese Cave House you should ask for directions. That's what I did.

The crash site is not clear on Google Maps but click here to see it on an alternative : LINK