Updated Jul 4, 2021 - World

Philippine military plane crashes, at least 45 dead

A Philippine plane carrying military troops crashed while landing on Sunday in the Sulu province, killing at least 45 people. Another 49 people have been rescued from the wreckage, AP reports.

State of play: Eyewitnesses saw people jump off the plane before it crashed near the Jolo airport, per AP. 42 army soldiers on board died and three villagers died after being hit by the plane on the ground. The military said five soldiers remain unaccounted for.

  • Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said rescue efforts were underway.
  • It remains unclear what caused the plane to crash. Military officials "said it was unlikely that the aircraft took hostile fire," AP writes.
  • Philippine military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said "the plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed," AP notes.
    • The Jolo airport in Sulu has a shorter runway than others, so pilots can struggle to adjust if they miss their landing spot, an official told AP.

Many of the troops on board were new soldiers who has just finished basic training and were getting deployed in Sulu, AP notes.

  • "They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism," Sulu military commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said, per AP.
Go deeper