Retiring Filipino pilot speaks to passengers on final flight; water cannon salute given upon landing
Captain Rizalino “Totoy” Irizari was reduced to tears when he announced to his passengers last Aug. 17 that his flight to Mactan, Cebu would be his very last. The video was shared on Facebook by a certain Kathrine Tandingan, who was one of the passengers of the flight. Her video has since gone viral, amassing three million views and tens of thousands of shares in just four days.
“Delayed flight??? YES, okay lang na okay kung ganito din naman ang mawiwitness namin sa buong buhay namin,” wrote the netizen in her post. “But first… grab some tissues. It’s a privilege for us to witness that awesome and blessed moment on-board.”
“This Captain would like to [extend] his [heartfelt] and wonderful blessed years in his [career] as a Pilot. And we’re so lucky to be in his LAST FLIGHT for retirement.”
Capt. Irizari left the pilot’s cockpit to see his passengers one last time, taking to the microphone to tell them personally that he would be retiring.
In the video, an emotional Irizari greeted his passengers aboard.
“Welcome aboard, flight 600 for Cebu… I would like to inform you that in my career, this is my last flight here…” Irizari tried to say in a shaky voice before pausing to compose himself. “My 48 years of flying in aviation… a big thing for me.”
Amidst applause, Irizari spoke again and gave the information of the flight to the passengers.
“Information. We’ll be cruising an altitude of 28,000 feet, it will take 48 minutes. Once we arrive in Mactan, you’ll be surprised. Left and right, you can see fire truck given to a…” At this point, Irizari turns himself away from the microphone as he broke down.
What he meant to say was it was a tradition to any pilot who is retiring to receive a welcoming water cannon salute upon landing.
In a later post by the same netizen, she shared a short video clip of their plane having landed on the runway, capturing the fire truck that sprayed them with a water cannon salute as they passed.
“Just landed in Cebu with a welcoming water cannon salute for the retired captain,” wrote the netizen. “God bless [you] captain!!!”
After the flight, some passengers approached Irizari to take pictures with him. Meanwhile, in another post by the netizen, airport staff were pictured holding up a colorful tarpaulin for Irizari that read, “Happy retirement Captain Rizalino ‘Totoy’ Irizari.”
Irizari ’s family were reportedly also aboard his last flight. JB
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