The number of individuals and troops killed in the C-130 crash in Jolo, Sulu has climbed to 50, as authorities from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) work to collect the plane’s components that might be essential in the inquiry that will be conducted.
As of Monday, the accident has claimed the lives of 47 soldiers and three civilians on the ground.
The C-130 plane with tail number 5125 had 96 passengers aboard when it flew from Villamor Air Base in Pasay on June 4 to transport troops to Jolo who were supposed to serve under 11th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army (PA).
AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Monday in a presser via PTV that it overshot the airport runway in Jolo and crashed in a village in Patikul.
He said 49 military soldiers were rescued, while four civilians were wounded on the ground. Thirty-two individuals remained hospitalized.
“We would like to inform the members of the families of the deceased… not all of them have been informed yet… that is the reason why we’re not releasing the names of those who survive yet, because by mentioning the names of those who survive, those who will not be named or mentioned in that list perished. We have not yet completed the giving of necessary information to the relatives of those who are deceased,” he said.
Arevalo assured the families that they will receive the needed support and help as a result of what occurred.
According to him, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana has issued orders to continue and ensure that those who have died are identified in the most effective and expedient manner possible so that their relatives may be informed.
Apart from eyewitness statements and data held by the control tower, Arevalo said they are also searching for the C-130’s black box, or flight data recorder, which is an important tool that can help investigators in determining the cause of the accident.
Arevalo said it’s better to wait for the results of the inquiry than to accept rumors that the plane was overloaded.
“We already cordoned the area to make sure and ensure the integrity of the pieces of evidence and other materials that are all objects that will help us determine what transpired in this particular tragic incident,” he said.
“We have to await the result of the investigation. I would not want to venture into saying that it is overloaded or it was sufficiently loaded, but I think the best way to go is to wait for the result of the investigation because they will be competent enough to determine whether the number is sufficient or, as being claimed by some quarters, exceeded the minimum or maximum number of personnel,” he added.
Arevalo said the investigation will also examine how the other passengers escaped the crash after claims that many passengers leapt from the aircraft.
He urged the public to refrain from spreading rumors about what occurred until the inquiry is completed.
“I cannot comment yet on the circumstances on how they were able to survive; those are details already that I am not privy to. But definitely, that will form part of the investigation, that will form part of the result of the investigation,” he said.
He said the remaining aircraft of the same kind will be grounded until the investigation is concluded, while two more are undergoing maintenance in Portugal.