The death toll in a Philippine Air Force plane that crashed on Sunday has risen to 50, in what has been described as the country’s worst military air disaster in decades.
The C-130 military plane was transporting troops from Cagayan de Oro, in Mindanao, to Sulu province when it missed the runway on the island of Jolo.
The plane, which was carrying 96 military personnel and crew, crashed into nearby Patikul village at 11:30am local time.
Spokesman for the country’s Army, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said 47 army personnel died, while 49 survived the crash and are being treated in hospitals, while three civilians on the ground were killed and four were injured.
“Minutes after the crash, troops and civilian volunteers rushed to the site for search and rescue. 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,” Arevalo said.
He added that the soldiers on the flight were fresh graduates and had just completed military training.
An investigative team has already moved to look for the plane’s flight data recorder and probe what caused the crash. They will also look into the reports of soldiers jumping from the plane.
By Isaac Dachen…
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