Death toll in Philippine military plane crash reaches 52
The death toll from a military plane crash in the Philippines has risen to 52 as two more critically injured soldiers died in the hospital, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
All 96 passengers and crew in the C-130H aircraft that crashed upon landing on Sunday on Jolo island in Sulu province have been accounted for, the Department of National Defence said on Monday, adding that 49 soldiers died and 47 others injured.
Lorenzana said three civilians on the ground were also killed and four others injured.
Some of the critically injured soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City from Sulu.
Lorenzana already ordered a "full investigation" into the crash "as soon as the rescue and recovery operation is completed".
Major General Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, said in a virtual briefing that the retrieval operations for plane parts, including the black box that recorded the flight data, are ongoing at the crash site, and an investigative team has arrived in Sulu.
The military plane was carrying newly-trained army personnel when it crashed and burst into flames after overshooting the runway.
Minutes after the crash, troops and civilian volunteers rushed to the site for search and rescue.
"Per witnesses, 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 military said.
Arevalo said some of the soldiers who died were severely charred, making it difficult to identify.
He said the C-130H plane mishap is one of the "most tragic incidents" that happened in the armed forces. -IANS