Philippine Air Force plane crash: at least 45 dead

Muhammad Arsalan ArabWeb Editor

05th Jul, 2021. 12:20 am
Philippine Air Force

A Philippine air force C-130 plane carrying combat troops tasked to fight Muslim insurgents crashed and exploded while landing in the country’s south on Sunday, killing at least 42 army personnel on board and three civilians on the ground in one of the air force’s deadliest catastrophes.

Military sources said at least 49 other soldiers were injured but survived the horrific noontime crash into a coconut grove outside the Jolo airport in the Sulu region, including some who managed to jump off the plane before it exploded and was consumed by fire. Three of the seven villagers who were killed when they were hit on the ground died.

The plane had 96 people on board, including three pilots and five crew members, with the rest being army personnel, according to the military, with only five soldiers still missing as of late Sunday. Officials stated the pilots survived but were critically hurt.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two ex-US Air Force planes handed over to the Philippines this year as part of military aid.

The plane left Manila with only a few passengers, including Romeo Brawner Jr., a two-star Army general who disembarked with his wife and three children in Cagayan de Oro City, where he will take over as the next military regional commander on Monday. In Cagayan de Oro, the army men boarded the C-130 for the flight to Sulu.

Brawner was shocked when he learned the jet he’d just flown on had crashed.

“We’re very thankful that we were spared but extremely sad that so many lost their lives,” Brawner said.

Officials said the jet was bringing troops from the southern city of Cagayan de Oro to Sulu, many of them were rookie soldiers who had just completed basic training.

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