Military Lockheed C-130 crashes in Philippines – at least 45 dead

A Philippines Air Force Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft has crashed after a failed landing attempt at Jolo Airport in the province of Sulu, Philippines. Having failed to land successfully at Jolo, the plane failed to gain sufficient height before crashing in nearby Patikul. Early reports indicate that there were 96 passengers on board, all military personnel on deployment to their battalions who are currently engaged in a lengthy war against Islamic militants from Abu Sayyaf and other factions.

The Department of National Defence has reported that 45 people died at the scene of the crash, including three civilians on the ground, while 53 were injured, including four civilians on the ground. Currently five soldiers remain unaccounted for. According to Reuters news agency, a military spokesman said there was no sign of any attack on the plane, though an investigation had yet to begin as efforts were focused on rescue and treatment.

Jolo airport has a 1,200-metre runway that normally caters for civilian turboprop flights and the occasional military aircraft according to a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. Jolo island lies approximately 950 km (600 miles) south of the capital, Manila. The Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft, with registration 5125, had only recently arrived in the Philippines and was one of two aircraft provided by the U.S. government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency according to a government website.

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