A Philippines military plane, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with 92 people on board, crashed Sunday morning in the country’s Southern Province, killing 17 passengers.
The aircraft crashed on landing at Bangkal village in Sulu Province, a Muslim-dominated area where the military had battled Abu Sayyaf militants for decades, the military chief of staff Cirilito Sobejana said.
The United States and Philippines have blacklisted the terror group for kidnappings, bombings and beheadings.
Forty persons have been rescued from the aircraft, which burst into flame after missing runways.
Eighty-four soldiers were on board the flight. There were also three pilots and five crew members in the aircraft.
Sobejana said the plane conveyed the troops from southern Cagayan de Oro City for deployment in Sulu, an area with many mountains.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Sobejana said while addressing journalists, adding that “the plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed”.
The country reportedly got the plane this year as part of military assistance.
“Recovery efforts are ongoing,” said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Regional military commander Corleto Vinluan said witnesses claimed the aircraft caught fire after overshooting the runway.
Weather condition around the Sulu region was good at the time of the crash, according to reports.