At least 45 people were killed and dozens injured Sunday when a Philippine military aircraft carrying troops crashed and burst into flames after missing the runway in the country’s south, the armed forces said.
The revised death toll includes 42 military personnel who were on board the C-130 Hercules transport plane that was trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province around midday.
Three civilians also died in the crash, the armed forces said in a social media chat group.
Fifty people have been rescued so far from the burning wreckage of the C-130 transport aircraft, according to a statement by Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana said rescue efforts are ongoing. He said the aircraft had 92 people on board, including three pilots and five crew. The rest were army personnel.
The plane was trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province when the incident happened at 11:30 am local time (0330 GMT), said General Cirilito Sobejana.
"While transporting our troops from Cagayan de Oro (on the southern island of Mindanao), it missed the runway, trying to regain power but it didn't make it," Sobejana told local media, describing the accident as "very unfortunate".
"Responders are at the site now, we are praying we can save more lives," Sobejana told AFP.
Sobejana said the rescued people were being treated at the nearby 11th Infantry Division hospital.
Many of the passengers had recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the restive island as part of a joint task force fighting terrorism in the Muslim-majority region.
The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate.
C-130 aircraft, the work horses of the air force, are used to transport troops and supplies. They are also often deployed to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The accident comes after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed last month during a night-time training flight, killing all six on board.
Three pilots and three airmen died when their S70-i went down near the Crow Valley training range north of Manila, prompting the grounding of the entire fleet.
The country ordered 16 of the multi-role aircraft from a Polish firm that made them under licence from the Sikorsky division of US defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Eleven have been delivered since late 2020.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)