MANILA — A Philippine Air Force plane with 85 soldiers aboard crashed on the southern island of Jolo on Sunday, officials said. At least 17 people were killed, and it was feared that the toll would climb.
The head of the Philippine armed forces, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said the plane missed a runway while trying to land. He said it crashed near a village called Bangkal in the town of Patikul, a stronghold of the Muslim militant group known as Abu Sayyaf. He said 40 people had been rescued.
“We are doing our best effort to rescue the passengers, our ground commanders are already there,” General Sobejana said. “They are trying their best to put out the fire. So far we have 40 people rescued and being treated.”
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, a top commander in the region, said 17 bodies had been found.
In addition to the soldiers, the plane, a C-130 Hercules, was carrying five military vehicles. The C-130 is an American-built turboprop that is commonly used by militaries around the world and is sometimes kept in service for decades.
The Philippine military has been trying to modernize its aging fleet. Earlier this month, a newly acquired Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a night training flight, killing six people onboard.
That crash happened about two months after another helicopter, an MG-520 attack chopper, crashed in the central Philippines, killing its pilot. And in January, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter also crashed in the south, killing seven soldiers.