HomeNews AlertPhilippines' plane crash kills 47, injures 49; probe ordered

Philippines’ plane crash kills 47, injures 49; probe ordered

The Department of National Defense said three civilians on the ground were also killed, and four civilians were injured

All 96 passengers of the Philippine Air Force plane that crashed on Sunday killing 47 people have been accounted for, military chief Cirilito Sobejana said on Monday.

Forty nine military personnel were injured in the crash, Sobejana told Reuters.

The Department of National Defense said on Sunday three civilians on the ground were also killed, and four civilians were injured.

The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft, carrying troops bound for counter-insurgency operations, overshot the runway after it touched down at Jolo airport in southern Sulu province, according to a military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he had ordered an investigation of the incident, which would begin after rescue and recovery operations had been completed.

The military has not seen any sign of an attack on the plane.

Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among coconut palms as men in combat uniform milled around, while a column of thick black smoke rose into the sky.

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The plane had attempted to land at Jolo airport, but overshot the runway without touching down. It failed to regain enough power and height and crashed at nearby Patikul.

“A number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash,” the Joint Task Force Sulu said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many jumped or whether they had survived.

Military chief Cirilito Sobejana said the plane had “missed the runway trying to regain power.”

The military command said the soldiers aboard had the rank of private and were being deployed to their battalions. They were flying to the provincial airport of Jolo from Laguindingan, about 460 km to the northeast.

The army in the sprawling Philippine archipelago has been fighting a long war against Islamist militants from Abu Sayyaf and other factions.

“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” said Commander William N. Gonzales of Joint Task Force Sulu.

Jolo airport has a 1,200-meter runway that usually takes civilian turboprop flights though occasionally some military flights, according to a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson.

Jolo island, part of the Sulu archipelago, is about 950 km south of the capital, Manila.

The Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft, with registration 5125, had only recently arrived in the Philippines.

It was one of two aircraft provided by the U.S. government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a government website said in January. It quoted an air force spokesman as saying the aircraft would boost capability for heavy airlift missions.

The website C-130.net said the plane that crashed had first flown in 1988. The model is a workhorse for armed forces around the world.

The Philippines armed forces have a patchy air safety record. Last month a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission, killing six people.

A Philippines Air Force C-130 crash in 1993 killed 30 people. A 2008 crash of the civilian variant of the Lockheed plane flown by the Philippines Air Force killed 11 people, the Aviation Safety Network says.

The country’s worst plane crash was that of an Air Philippines Boeing 737 in 2000, which killed 131 people.

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