Bangkok, July 5 (EFE).- Philippine authorities on Monday raised the death toll of the military plane crash in the south of the country, including three civilians, to 50.
Another 53 people have been injured in the accident, including four civilians.
The three civilian victims were on the ground when the plane crashed while the injured, both civilians and military personnel, are receiving treatment, according to data from the Philippine defense department
All 96 people who were aboard the plane, including 3 pilots, have been found, while teams continue to search for the aircraft’s black box to obtain information on the reason of the accident.
The four-engine C-130 Hercules transport plane was trying land at the airport on the island of Jolo but it missed the runway and could not regain enough height and crashed in a nearby field around 11:30 am on Sunday.
“One of our C-130s, while transporting troops from Cagayan De Oro, missed the runway, tried to regain power but failed, and ended up crashing in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu,” Philippines Armed Forces chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement, according to the state Philippine News Agency.
The aircraft departed from a base in Cagayan de Oro, on the island of Mindanado, according to the official.
Aboard the plane were recent army graduates deployed to a battalion fighting against several Islamic extremist groups that take refuge in the remote archipelago of Jolo, in the southwest of the Philippines.
Thick black smoke and flames engulfing the plane were seen in photos of the accident posted to social media.
The accident puts the spotlight back on the aging and poorly maintained arsenal of the Philippine Army, which generally acquires second – and even third-hand aircraft and helicopters.
The C-130 was delivered to the Philippines earlier this year through a military assistance agreement with the United States, which operated the aircraft between 1988 and 2016. The plane had been in a US base hangar during the last few years.
In June, six people lost their lives when an S-70i Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission near the Clark Air Force Base, north of Manila.
In January, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnam War-era helicopter crashed in the south, killing eight soldiers.
The government pledged in 2018 to allocate more than $6 billion to upgrade the security forces’ outdated arsenal. EFE