VIDEO: Philippines military plane crash death toll hits 50 - GulfToday

VIDEO: Philippines military plane crash death toll hits 50


The wreckage of a Philippine Airforce C-130 transport plane after it crashed near the airport in Jolo town. AFP

Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent

Philippine security forces searched among coconut trees on a remote southern island Monday for the flight data boxes of an aircraft that crashed and killed 50 people in one of the country's worst military air disasters.


The C-130 Hercules transport plane was carrying 96 people, most of them recent army graduates, when it overshot the runway on Sunday while trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province.

The plane "skidded" and burst into flames in a village, killing 50 people including 47 military personnel and three civilians, said military spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo.

The ill-fated military plane was transporting 92 on board, including the pilots and crewmen, while the rest were the combat forces of the PAF. A senior cabinet official confirmed the worst disasters in the Philippine air force’s history.

philippines-planeRescue workers arrive at the site of the army plane crash in Jolo town. AFP

"So far, 40 injured were rescued and 17 bodies recovered. Rescue and recovery ongoing," said Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, adding that three pilots and five crewmen were also on board.

Lorenzana said most of the passengers were military recruits who were assigned to the Joint Task Force Sulu as the government beefed up its security forces in the campaign against the Daesh-inspired Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

According to Lorenzanna, the soldiers boarded the plane at Cagayan de Oro City also in Mindanao where they underwent training at a military camp prior to their assignment in Sulu where the Abu Sayyaf terrorists operate with impunity.

Philippines-crash-aircraft-main1-750A Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane parked as  troops march at the disputed Thitu Island. File / AP

Citing initial reports, meanwhile, General Cirilito Sobejana, the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the tragedy occurred when the plane was about to land at the airport in the capital town of Jolo, Sulu, shortly before noon on Sunday.

"The plane missed the runway and tried to regain power but failed," Sobejana said, and then crashed into a village in the neighbouring mountain town of Patikul, considered a hotbed of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from the wreckage strewn among the trees as men in combat uniforms milled around. A large column of smoke also rose into the blue sky.

crash-philippRescuers carry a body from the crashed site. AP

The C-130 plane is considered the workhorse of PAF in the transport of soldiers as well as military equipment and supplies. The aircraft has also proven its worth during humanitarian missions whenever typhoons, earthquakes and other calamities would hit the Philippines.

The crashlanding in Sulu was the latest to hit the PAF involving its planes in less than two weeks. On June 23, an S-70i Blackhawk utility helicopter on a night flight training mission crashed in the province of Tarlac in Central Luzon, killing all its six passengers including the pilot with a rank of lieutenant colonel.

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