Philippine safety forces searched amongst coconut timber on a distant southern island Monday for the flight knowledge bins of an plane that crashed and killed 50 folks in one of many nation’s worst navy air disasters.
The C-130 Hercules transport airplane was carrying 96 folks, most of them current military graduates, when it overshot the runway on Sunday whereas making an attempt to land on Jolo island in Sulu province — a haven for Islamist militants.
The airplane “skidded” and burst into flames in a village, killing 50 folks together with 47 navy personnel and three civilians, mentioned navy spokesman Main Basic Edgard Arevalo.
One other 53 had been injured, most of them troopers. It was not clear if the pilots had been among the many survivors.
“This is one of the worst tragic incidents that happened in our armed forces,” Arevalo mentioned.
The three civilians killed weren’t on the flight and had been working in a quarry, village chief Tanda Hailid informed AFP.
Images of the scene launched by the navy’s rescue process drive confirmed the broken tail and smoking wreckage scattered in a coconut grove.
“We have people on the ground to make sure the integrity of the pieces of the evidence that we will retrieve, most particularly the flight data recorder,” Arevalo mentioned.
“Aside from eyewitness accounts, we are also looking for recordings, radio conversation recordings between the pilot and the control tower.”
Arevalo mentioned the navy had secured the crash web site and would guarantee militants on the island don’t disrupt search efforts.
Dental data had been getting used to assist determine the charred stays of victims.
Many of the passengers not too long ago graduated from fundamental navy coaching and had been being deployed to the restive island as a part of a counter-insurgency effort within the Muslim-majority area.
The navy has a heavy presence within the southern Philippines the place militant teams, together with the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, function.
– ‘Worst crash’ –
C-130s have been the workhorses of air forces world wide for many years, used to move troops, provides, and autos.
The second-hand Hercules that crashed Sunday was acquired from the US and delivered to the Philippines earlier this yr.
It was considered one of 4 within the nation’s fleet. Two are being repaired whereas the third has been grounded following the crash.
“These are all seasoned and experienced pilots, that’s why we are also unable to immediately say how this… (happened),” mentioned Arevalo.
“Even if these (military assets) are not brand new… these are airworthy.”
“This ranks as the worst crash of a Philippine military aircraft with 50 dead so far as compared to the 40 dead in a 1971 crash of a PAF C-47,” Jose Antonio Custodio, a navy historian and analyst, informed AFP.
It was the most recent in a sequence of current navy air accidents within the Philippines.
Final month, a Black Hawk helicopter went down throughout a night-time coaching flight, killing all six on board. The accident prompted the grounding of the nation’s total Black Hawk fleet.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque mentioned Monday the incidents would offer “impetus for further modernisation” of the armed forces.
“The whole country is mourning,” he mentioned.