At least 45 people were killed when a military plane crashed in the southern Philippines, with dozens more retrieved alive from the flaming wreckage.
When the Philippines transporter overshot the runway on Jolo island, it was carrying more than 90 individuals, mostly servicemen. The casualties are mostly military personnel, although three civilians were also killed on the ground, according to the defense ministry. Rescuers combed through the wreckage of a Lockheed C130 Hercules in a wooded area near many buildings.
When the plane crashed, it burst into flames, throwing a large black cloud into the sky. Several dozen individuals were hurt, and five people are still missing, according to the military. Survivors were treated at a neighboring military hospital. The airplane, which crashed a few kilometers from Jolo at 11:30 a.m. local time (03:30 a.m. GMT), was carrying troops from Cagayan de Oro, on Mindanao’s southern island.
“It missed the runway while attempting to regain power,” armed forces chief Gen Sobejana told reporters. “A number of soldiers were spotted rushing out of the aircraft before it impacted the ground, sparing them from the explosion produced by the crash,” according to a statement from the regional military unit, Joint Task Force Sulu. There were no specifics provided about how they were able to exit the plane or their current condition.
The soldiers were part of a reinforcement team dispatched to the Philippines’ south to fight Islamist insurgents like the Abu Sayyaf group. Officials claimed there was no evidence the plane had been assaulted, and that an inquiry would begin once the rescue mission was completed. According to AFP, many of them on board had only recently undergone basic military training.
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