17 dead after military plane crashes in Philippines; 40 rescued
A military plane crash-landed in the Philippines on Sunday, the chief of the armed forces said in a statement. The incident occurred in the Sulu province of the archipelagic country. Rescue operations are underway. Reportedly, there were around 92 people aboard the plane and at least 40 have been rescued so far. The death toll has been reported to be 17.
Plane carried 92 people, including 8 crew members
The C-130 military aircraft carrying at least 92 people crashed as it tried to land on Jojo island in the Sulu province, according to Reuters. Those aboard included three pilots and five other crew members. The plane crashed in the Bangkal village in Patikul, the Associated Press reported. Visuals from the scene showed smoke billowing from the wreckage of the aircraft among trees.
'Plane missed runway; tried regaining power, but crashed'
"It's very unfortunate," Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana told reporters, "The plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed." He told Agence France-Presse, "Responders are at the site now, we are praying we can save more lives."
Reason behind crash unclear; being investigated
It had been raining in central Philippines at the time of the crash, however, it was not immediately clear if the crash was related to the weather. Incidentally, the airport is also a few kilometers away from a mountainous area where the Army has been battling the separatist group Abu Sayyaf, some of whom are aligned with the Islamic State.
Plane was ferrying troops from Cagayan de Oro: Sobejana
The aircraft was ferrying troops from the southern Cagayan de Oro city, Sobejana told AP. Most passengers had graduated with basic military training recently and were being deployed to a region where troops have been battling terrorism. Military presence has been heavy in the Muslim-majority region. The US and the Philippines have designated Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organization for bombings, ransom kidnappings, and beheadings.