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Lorenzana orders full probe into deadly C-130 crash in Sulu

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday ordered a "full investigation" into the crash of a C-130 military aircraft in Sulu over the weekend that left dozens dead.

“I have ordered a full investigation to get to the bottom of the C-130 incident, as soon as the rescue and recovery operation is completed,” Lorenzana said on Twitter.

In an interview on Dobol B TV, Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said the death toll has climbed to 50 — 47 soldiers and three civilians.


Aside from the 47 military fatalities whose bodies, many of which were burned beyond recognition, have been recovered, 49 other soldiers were rescued and brought to hospitals for treatment, Arevalo said.

“So far, na-retrieve na po natin ang lahat ng mga labi ng ating mga sundalo na pumanaw sa aksidente na ito. Kabuuan na 47 ang na-recover natin,” he said.

(We have retrieved the bodies of the soldiers who died in this incident. We recovered a total of 47 bodies.)

“Bukod po doon sa 47 nating mga sundalo na namatay, meron pa rin pong tatlong sibilyan, hindi po sila pasahero. Kasama po sila sa ground doon sa lugar kung saan nangyari ang crash,” he said.

(Aside from the 47 soldiers who died, we have three civilian fatalities. They were not passengers. They were on the ground on the site where the crash happened.)

On Monday, the Department of National Defense said four injured civilians are undergoing treatment as of 10 p.m. on Sunday.

It added that 32 of the injured military personnel were evacuated at Zamboanga City, while 18 of the remaining injured are being treated at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital and 11th Infantry Division hospital

“All passengers, pilots and crew were retrieved,” the DND said.

“Meanwhile, the search for the black box of the crashed C130 is still ongoing. Crash site is being secured by 45IB together with personnel of TOG11,” it added.

The C-130, with tail number 5125, took off from Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday and was about to land in Jolo port in Sulu when it crashed at 11:30 a.m.

According to Joint Task Force Sulu, the aircraft crashed in Sitio Amman in Barangay Bangkal.

Some of the passengers, the task force said, were new Philippine Army privates. 

Malacañang, as well as some officials including Vice President Leni Robredo, have offered prayers to the victims of the crash.

Senator Grace Poe on Monday conveyed condolences to the relatives of the victims and said a thorough investigation will show "what can be done to avoid a repeat of the tragic crash and to put in place measures to make our military planes safe." 

For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate defense committee, said that instead of the Senate "even thinks of exercising oversight on the AFP procurement of their air assets under its modernization program, I would rather pause and pray for the souls of those who perished ... and speedy recovery of the injured passengers." —KBK/KG/RSJ, GMA News