At least 31 killed in S. Philippine military plane crash
A C130 military plane crashed in southern Philippines on Sunday morning, killing at least 31 people, including two civilians, officials said.
Joint Task Force Sulu commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said as of 5:30pm, 29 bodies were already recovered from the crash site in Brgy. Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu while 50 personnel were hospitalized.
"We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors. Our search and rescue is still ongoing with 17 personnel unaccounted,” Gonzales said.
“These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today. They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism," he added.
Aside from military personnel casualties, two civilians died while four were injured.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines aircraft with over 90 personnel on board, including three pilots and five crew, crashed when it was about to land at the Jolo airport around 11:30am.
On board were new privates of the Philippine Army who were en route to their deployment to end terrorism in Sulu.
Minutes after the crash, troops and civilian volunteers rushed to the site for search and rescue.
Quoting eyewitnesses, JTF Sulu said 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.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has already ordered an investigation on the incident.
Lorenzana urged the public to refrain from spreading highly speculative statements about the unfortunate incident, such as attributing the crash to defective equipment.
"We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations," he said.
"With the investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the Philippine Air Force, AFP and their families," he added.
Late last month, six Air Force personnel died after a newly-acquired helicopter crashed in Capas, Tarlac. Ella Dionisio/DMS