MANILA — A Philippine Air Force plane with 96 soldiers and crew members aboard crashed on the southern island of Jolo on Sunday, officials said. At least 50 people were killed, including three civilians on the ground, and it was feared that the toll would climb.
The head of the Philippine armed forces, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said that the plane missed a runway while trying to land and that it crashed near a village called Bangkal in the town of Patikul, a stronghold of the militant group known as Abu Sayyaf.
The military said that 42 who were on the plane had been confirmed dead, with 49 others injured and five others still unaccounted for.
“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors,” Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said in a statement.
Military officials said that in addition to the three civilians on the ground who had been killed, 53 others had been injured.
The soldiers on the plane that crashed on Sunday were being flown to Jolo to bolster the military’s operations against Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamist group that the Philippine government considers a terrorist organization.
“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” General Gonzales said. “These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today.”
All passengers, pilots and crew members were retrieved, officials said, and the search for the aircraft’s “black box” was ongoing.
In addition to the 96 people aboard the plane, a C-130 Hercules, there were also five military vehicles, officials said. The C-130, an American-built turboprop, is used by militaries around the world and is sometimes kept in service for
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