Philippines – Fifty people have died, with 53 injured on Sunday in one of the worst military air disasters in the history of the Philippines.
The Philippines Air Force transport carrying mostly young soldiers on their first deployment crashed on the island of Jolo after the plane missed the runway during landing.
The 50 deaths include 47 military personnel and 3 civilians on ground working on a quarry. While 53 were reported to be injured, with 49 military personnel, it is unclear whether the pilots survived.
These are all seasoned and experienced pilots that’s why we are also unable to immediately say how this came into being.Major General Edgard Arevalo, Spokesperson, Armed Forces of the Philippines
Major General Edgard Arevalo, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that the military has secured the crash site to ensure that militants did not interfere with the search efforts. The plane crash area houses one of the largest bases of the Philippines military.
The C-130 Hercules transport plane was carrying fresh graduates from military training who were being deployed to fight insurgent Muslim groups including Abu Sayyaf. The Abu Sayyaf group is infamous for kidnappings for ransom in the mostly Muslim Sulu province.
Arevalo says that aside from eyewitness accounts, the Philippine military are also looking for recordings, radio conversation recordings between the pilot and the control tower. He also stressed that while the plane was purchased second hand earlier this year from the US, the country’s military assets are “airworthy, seaworthy or landworthy”.