Military's C-130 plane crashes in southern Sulu province, leaving 42 military personnel dead, 3 civilians killed and 5 military personnel unaccounted for, officials say.

View of the site after a Philippines Air Force Lockheed C-130 plane carrying troops crashed on landing in Patikul, Sulu province, Philippines July 4, 2021
View of the site after a Philippines Air Force Lockheed C-130 plane carrying troops crashed on landing in Patikul, Sulu province, Philippines July 4, 2021 (Reuters)

At least 45 people were killed and dozens injured when a Philippine military aircraft carrying troops crashed and burst into flames after missing the runway in the country's south, the armed forces said.

The revised death toll includes 42 military personnel who were on board the C-130 Hercules transport plane which was trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province around midday on Sunday.

Three civilians also died in the crash, the armed forces said in a social media chat group.

Five military personnel remain unaccounted for, the defence ministry said.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier on Sunday said the rescue efforts are ongoing and the aircraft had 92 people on board, including three pilots and five crew. The rest were army personnel. 

Military chief General Cirilito Sobejana said the plane was trying to land on Jolo island in the province when the accident happened at 11:30 am local time (0330 GMT).

"While transporting our troops from Cagayan de Oro (on the southern island of Mindanao), it missed the runway, trying to regain power but it didn't make it," Sobejana told local media, describing the accident as "very unfortunate".

"Responders are at the site now, we are praying we can save more lives," Sobejana told AFP news agency.

Sobejana said those rescued were being treated at the nearby military hospital.

The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate.
The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate. (TRTWorld)

Task force fighting militants

Many of the passengers had recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the restive island as part of a joint task force fighting militancy 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.

C-130 aircraft, the work horses of the air force, are used to transport troops and supplies. 

They are also often deployed to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Black Hawk helicopter crash

The accident comes after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed last month during a night-time training flight, killing all six on board.

Three pilots and three airmen died when their S70-i went down near the Crow Valley training range north of Manila, prompting the grounding of the entire fleet.

The country ordered 16 of the multi-role aircraft from a Polish firm that made them under licence from the Sikorsky division of US defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Eleven aircraft have been delivered since late 2020.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies