A Philippine Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules crashed and caught fire while on approach to Jolo Airport, Philippines. Preliminary reports indicate that the crash resulting in at least 31 deaths, the incident is one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the Philippines’ military history.
The aircraft involved in the incident is Lockheed C-130H Hercules with the tail number 5125. The Hercules transport plane originated from Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and flew to Cagayan de Oro-Lumbia Airport in order to fly troops from there to Jolo Airport. Their aircraft carried 84 troops and 8 crew members. Five military vehicles were also on board
At 11:30 (UTC+8), the plane crashed while attempting to land in Jolo Airport. The plane reportedly overshot the runway crashing in a quarry in a lightly populated area in Barangay Bangkal in the nearby town of Patikul. The plane caught fire upon crashing.
“A number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash,” the Joint Task Force Sulu said in a statement.
Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among trees as men in combat uniform milled around, while a column of thick black smoke rose from the coconut palms into the sky.
Twenty-nine bodies were retrieved and 50 people had been taken to hospital, leaving 17 unaccounted for, the military said in the statement, adding there was still hope for survivors.
Two civilians on the ground were also killed, and four were injured, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence said.
Jolo airport has a 1,200-metre runway that usually takes civilian turboprop flights though occasionally some military flights, according to a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson.
Jolo island, part of the Sulu archipelago, is about 950 km (600 miles) south of the capital, Manila.