At least 29 killed in Philippines plane crash

Photo: AP

At least 29 military personnel died and at least 50 were rescued from the burning wreckage as a Philippine air force C-130 aircraft carrying troops crashed, officials said. Rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

There were 92 people on board: 3 pilots, 5 crew and the rest were army personnel, military officials said. The pilots survived but were seriously injured and at least four villagers on the ground were injured.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two ex-U.S. Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines as part of military assistance this year. It crashed while landing shortly before noon Sunday in Bangkal village in the mountainous town of Patikul in Sulu province, military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said, quoted by AP.

Military officials said at least 50 people on board were brought to a hospital and troops were trying to search for the rest.

“Per eyewitnesses, 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,” a military statement said.

The plane was transporting troops, many of them new soldiers who had just undergone basic training, from the southern Cagayan de Oro city for deployment in Sulu, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan said it was unlikely that the aircraft took hostile fire and cited witnesses as saying that it appeared to have overshot the runway then crashed in the periphery of the airport, injuring at least four villagers on the ground.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Sobejana told reporters. “The plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”

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