17 people are confirmed dead after a military plane carrying at least 85 people “missed the runway” and crashed in the Philippines today.
More than 40 people have been rescued from the burning wreckage of the C-130 transport aircraft which was trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province when the incident happened at 11:30am (local time).
“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,” General Cirilito Sobejana told local media. He described 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 40 people that have been rescued so far are 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.