Filipino military plane crashes with 85 soldiers on board

MANILA – A Philippine Air Force plane with 85 troops on board crashed on the island of Jolo in the south of the country on Sunday, officials said. At least 17 people were killed, and the death toll was feared.

The Chief of the Philippine Armed Forces, General Cirilito Sobejana, said the plane missed a runway as it tried to land. He said he crashed near a village called Bangkal in the town of Patikul, a stronghold of the Muslim militant group known as Abu Sayyaf. He said 40 people had been rescued.

“We are doing our best to save the passengers, our ground commanders are already there,” General Sobejana said. “They are doing their best to put out the fire. So far, we have 40 people rescued and treated.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, a senior commander in the region, said 17 bodies were found.

In addition to the military, the aircraft, a C-130 Hercules, carried five military vehicles. The C-130 is an American-built turboprop engine that is commonly used by militaries around the world and is sometimes maintained in service for decades.

The Philippine military has attempted to modernize its aging fleet. Earlier this month, a newly acquired Black Hawk helicopter crashed during an overnight training flight, killing six people on board.

The crash happened about two months after another helicopter, an MG-520 attack helicopter, crashed in the central Philippines, killing its pilot. And in January, a refurbished Huey UH-1H helicopter from the Vietnam War also crashed in the south, killing seven soldiers.

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