PHL Defense department investigating incident
(Eagle News) – Malacanang expressed its condolences to those who lost their lives in a plane crash of a C130 Hercules plane in Sulu where at least 50 lives were lost, mostly soldiers who recently finished a training on counter-insurgency.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the whole nation is in mourning. The Department of National Defense is conducting an investigation of Sunday’s tragic incident involving a second-hand plane which was recently acquired from the United States.
On Monday, July 5, during the regular Palace press briefing, Roque first asked for a moment of silence and expressed the whole Filipino nation’s condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the crash.
“Nagpapa-abot po ng pakikiramay si Presidente Rodrigo Duterte sa pamilya ng mga nasawi sa bumagsak na C130 sa Sulu,” he said.
“Nagluluksa hindi lamang ang sandatahang lakas ng Pilipinas, ngunit ang buong bansa sa malungkot na pangyayaring ito,” he said.
He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has already ordered a probe to look into the causes of the crash, the worst so far involving a Philippine military craft.
The C-130 Hercules transport plane was carrying 96 people, most of them recent army graduates, when it overshot the runway on Sunday while trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province — a haven for Islamist militants.
-47 soldiers, three civilians killed-
The plane “skidded” and burst into flames in a village, killing 50 people including 47 military personnel and three civilians, said military spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo.
Another 53 were injured, most of them soldiers. It was not clear if the pilots were among the survivors.
“This is one of the worst tragic incidents that happened in our armed forces,” Arevalo said.
The three civilians killed were not on the flight and had been working in a quarry, village leader Tanda Hailid told AFP.
Photos of the scene released by the military’s Joint Task Force-Sulu showed the damaged 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 said.
“Aside from eyewitness accounts, we are also looking for recordings, radio conversation recordings between the pilot and the control tower.”
Arevalo said the military had secured the crash site and would ensure militants on the island do not disrupt search efforts.
Dental records were being used to help identify the charred remains of victims.
Most of the passengers recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the restive island as part of a counter-insurgency effort in the Muslim-majority region.
The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate.
(with a report from Agence France Presse)