At least 29 people were killed and 50 injured on Sunday when a Philippine military plane crashed while trying to land on a runway in the south of the country, authorities said.
Another 17 people who were traveling aboard the Hercules C-130, which was carrying troops and crashed on the island of Jolo, in the southern province of Sulu, are missing, Philippine General William Gonzales said in a statement.
Photos broadcast by the local television channel Pondohan TV on their Facebook page they showed the fuselage of the plane on fire. A column of black smoke rose over the houses located near the crash site.
General Cirilito Sobejana of the Armed Forces said that the plane was carrying troops from Cagayan de Oro, on the island of Mindanao (south), when it went off the runway while trying to land in Jolo. The plane tried “to regain power, but failed,” Sobejana told the media, calling the accident “very unfortunate.”
“The rescuers are on the scene, we are praying that they can save more lives,” he told the AFP. Sobejana said the 40 rescued were being treated at the nearby 11th Infantry Division hospital.
The Air Force spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Maynard Mariano, said that the causes of the accident would be investigated. “Now we are dedicated to rescue tasks,” Mariano told AFP. Many of the passengers had recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the island as part of a joint force fighting armed groups in this Muslim-majority region.
“The incident is being treated as an accident, not as an attack,” the spokesman for the armed forces, General Edgard Arevalo, told DZBB radio.
News that is being updated.