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17 killed, 40 hurt as PAF C-130 crashes at airport in Jolo

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SEVENTEEN military personnel were reported killed while 40 others were injured after the Philippine Air Force C-130 plane carrying them crashed at the airport in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday and burst into flames.

The PAF through its spokesman Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano released a brief but sketchy report about the accident, but did not provide information about the fate of the personnel onboard.

The crash was the second for the Air Force in less than two weeks after a newly-acquired S70i Blackhawk helicopter went down while on a night proficiency training in Tarlac late last month, killing its six aircrew, including three junior officers.

A statement from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued through Department of National defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the C-130 plane “crashed while landing at the Jolo airport at noon” on Sunday.

Lorenzana said that based on the initial report, the aircraft was carrying 92 personnel, including three pilots and five crew. The rest were Army personnel who were “reporting for duty.”

“So far, 40 wounded and injured were rescued and 17 bodies recovered. Rescue and recovery is ongoing,” Lorenzana said.

The Air Force, in a brief statement, said the plane, with tail number 5125 “figured in a mishap upon landing in Jolo.” The aircraft “took off from CJVAB (Villamor Air Base) to Lumbia Airport (Cagayan de Oro) and subsequently ferried personnel to Jolo.”

“Rescue efforts are ongoing, details will follow soonest,” the Air Force said.

General Cirilito Sobejana, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, hinted that the aircraft caught fire after it crashed at the airport at around 11:30 a.m.

“Very unfortunate, not so happy Sunday. At 11:30 (a.m.), one of our C-130s, while transporting our troops from Cagayan de Oro, missed the runway trying to regain power . . . it crashed at Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu,” Sobejana said.

“We are doing our best effort to rescue the passengers. Our ground commander is already there, it’s General (William) Gonzales, doing his best effort to have the fire stopped and safely rescue the passengers,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana issued his statement before Lorenzana issued an official statement.

On June 23, one of the Blackhawks acquired by the Air Force from a Polish manufacturer, crashed near the Crow Valley target range in Tarlac while on a night-flying training, killing its six aircrew.

The crash prompted the Air Force to ground its fleet of Blackhawks pending the results of its investigation.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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