At least 31 people died when a Philippine military transport plane crashed on the southern island of Jolo on Sunday.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules, transporting members of the Philippine military’s Joint Task Force Sulu, overshot the runway at the Jolo Airport and crashed in the trees nearby. Of the 31 dead, 29 were soldiers in the plane and the two others were civilians on the ground, the Associated Press reported.
Ninety-six people were aboard the aircraft. Fifty were rescued and 17 remain unaccounted for as of press time.
“As we commiserate with the pilots, crew, and passengers of the ill-fated aircraft, as well as their families, I ask everyone to join us in praying for them,” Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a statement.
The crashed aircraft was one given by the U.S. Air Force as part of a military assistance program in January 2021. The soldiers, who had been given the rank of private, were being transported to their units when their plane crashed, Reuters reported.
“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,” said a military statement cited by Reuters.
There is not yet cause for speculation that the crash was due to an act of violence, said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, a regional military commander. An investigation will commence after the conclusion of search and rescue operations, Lorenzana added.
The Philippine presidential administration joined the nation in praying for the victims of the “unfortunate” crash.
“We are deeply saddened by the C-130 mishap in Sulu. Rescue efforts are ongoing, and we are one in praying for the safe recovery of the passengers. Let us wait for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to release an update on this very unfortunate incident,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
This plane crash is the deadliest in almost 30 years for the Philippines, according to Reuters. Another C-130 crash in 1993 killed 30. The worst crash in the country’s history was that of a Boeing 737 that killed 131 people in 2000.
Author : Charles Hilu