Philippine military plane crash sees death toll climb to 50

A military plane has crashed in the southern Philippines, killing 50 people and injuring 49 military personnel.

The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft was carrying 96 people, mostly troops, when it overshot the runway on Jolo airport in Sulu province.

The soldiers were among reinforcements sent to combat Islamist militants such as the Abu Sayyaf group.

The dead are mainly military personnel, but three civilians on the ground were also killed, the defence ministry said.

Five people were initially listed as missing but all passengers onboard have now been accounted for.

A spokesperson from the Armed Forces of the Philippines told news site ABS-CBN that they were looking for the flight data recorder to find out why exactly the plane might have crashed.

Major Gen Edgard Arevalo said there was no sign of any attack on the plane.

The plane, which came down at 11:30 local time (03:30 GMT) a few kilometres from the town of Jolo, was carrying 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,” armed forces chief Gen Sobejana told reporters.

A statement from the regional military force, Joint Task Force Sulu, said “a number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash”.

No details about how they managed to get out of the plane or their condition were given.

Many of those on board had only recently completed basic military training, AFP reports.

The plane, previously in service with the US Air Force, was handed to the Philippines in January.

It was the first of two used Hercules to be delivered by the US under a defence co-operation scheme. (Courtesy BBC)

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