Twenty-nine people have been killed while 50 were rescued when a Philippines Air Force plane carrying troops crashed on landing in the south of the country and broke up in flames on Sunday.
The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft reportedly crashed at Patikul in Sulu province, in the far south of the archipelago nation where the army has been fighting a long war against Islamist militants from the Abu Sayyaf and other factions, making it the country’s worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years.
A statement by Phillipines Defence Minister, Delfin Lorenzana shortly after the crash, said 29 bodies had been recovered and 50 injured had been rescued so far.”
Lorenzana added that most of the 92 people aboard were troops flying from Laguindingan Airport, some 460 km (290 miles) to the northeast.
“Rescue and recovery is ongoing,” Lorenzana said.
Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among trees as men in combat uniform milled around. A large column of black smoke rose from the coconut palms into the blue sky.
A military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said there was no indication of any attack on the plane, but that a crash investigation had not begun and efforts were focussed on rescue and treatment.
“We are currently attending to the survivors who were immediately brought to the 11th Infantry Division station hospital in Busbus, Jolo, Sulu,” he said.
By Isaac Dachen
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