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Earthquake damage closes former Clark Air Base in Philippines

U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. David Law, who serves with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, executes pre-flight checks on a KC-130 prior to conducting Forward Arming and Refueling Point operations centered in Clark Air Force Base, Philippines April, 4, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Campbell)

The former home of the U.S. Air Force in the Philippines sustained damage after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Luzon on Monday.

Flights in and out of Clark International Airport, formerly Clark Air Base, north of Manila, remained canceled Tuesday due to damage to facilities caused by the quake, which injured seven at the airport, according to CNN Philippines.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the death toll from the disaster stood at 11 with 24 missing, according to an Associated Press report.

Photographs of a terminal at Clark show heavy damage with collapsed ceilings and broken windows.

The airport, which was transferred to the Philippines and rehabilitated after it was covered in ash from the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, has seen increasing air traffic in recent years.

John Gilbert, 71, a retired Army first sergeant living near Clark, said he and a friend ran into the yard and saw their cars shaking when they felt the quake shortly after 5 p.m. Monday.

“I have been through a number of quakes in Japan,” said Gilbert, who was stationed at Camp Zama, located near Tokyo, in the 1980s. “We had some pretty good ones over there, but this is the strongest I’ve felt here.”

The earthquake was centered in Zambales Province near Subic Bay. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post reported that all its members were safe, Gilbert said.

A supermarket collapsed in a village near Clark and there appeared to be significant damage at the airport, he said.

“We have a lot of shoddy construction here,” he said. “I’m surprised there wasn’t more damage.”


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