All 96 passengers on board a Philippines Air Force transport plane that crashed on Sunday killing at least 50 people – on the plane and on the ground – have been accounted for, military chief Cirilito Sobejana said on Monday.
Sobejana said 49 soldiers were injured in the fiery crash, which happened when the C-130 Hercules transport plane missed the runway while trying to land on the southern island of Jolo where the military is fighting the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups. According to CGTN, Philippine air force C-130 aircraft burst into flames while landing. Nearly 50 people were rescued from the burning wreckage, however, 45 people lost their lives, including two civilians on the ground, officials said. As per reports, some soldiers were seen jumping off the aircraft before it crashed and exploded in the periphery of the Jolo airport in Sulu province. The officials informed that two of the six villagers who were hit on the ground have died. According to the military, the three pilots were among those who survived the crash but were in a serious condition. The plane was one of two ex-US Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines as part of military assistance this year. The plane was transporting soldiers, many of whom had just undergone basic training, from the southern Cagayan de Oro city for deployment in Sulu, officials said.
The pictures released by the military showed the tail section of the cargo plane relatively intact. The other parts of the plane, however, were burned or scattered in pieces in a clearing surrounded by coconut trees. As per reports, soldiers and other rescuers with stretchers were seen dashing to and from the smoke-shrouded crash site.