MANILA (Reuters) -At least 17 people were killed when a Philippines Air Force plane carrying troops crashed on landing in the south of the country and broke up in flames on Sunday.
The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft crashed at Patikul in Sulu province, in the far south of the archipelago nation where the army has been fighting a long war against Islamist militants from the Abu Sayyaf and other factions.
“So far 40 wounded and injured were rescued and 17 bodies recovered. Rescue and recovery is ongoing,” Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement, adding that 92 people had been on board.
Military chief Cirilito Sobejana said the plane had “missed the runway trying to regain power.”
A military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said there was no indication of any attack on the plane, but that a crash investigation had not begun and efforts were focussed on rescue and treatment.
Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among trees as men in combat uniform milled around. A large column of black smoke rose into the blue sky.
Sobejana said in a message to Reuters that the plane had crashed a few kilometres (miles) from Jolo airport at 11:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) and had been carrying troops.
“We are currently attending to the survivors who were immediately brought to the 11th Infantry Division station hospital in Busbus, Jolo, Sulu,” he said.
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