PHILIPPINES (July 5, 2021)—On behalf of the United States, I offer our deep condolences to the people of the Philippines regarding the tragic plane crash in which several dozen service members were killed. Our thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who were lost. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Philippine allies at this difficult time and are ready to provide all appropriate support to the Philippines’ response effort, said National Security Advisory Jake Sullivan in a released statement Sunday.
Philippine authorities ordered an investigation on Monday into the crash of an Air Force plane that overshot a runway and killed more than 50 people, including civilians, in the country’s worst military air accident in nearly three decades.
President Rodrigo Duterte flew to a military camp in the southern city of Zamboanga, where the dead and dozens of injured were brought following the crash on Sunday of a transport plane the defense ministry said was in good condition.
“I commiserate with you. I am as sorrowful as you. And as commander-in-chief, I am hurting the most because of lives lost,” Duterte said at a navy base after saluting the flag-draped coffins.
The C-130 aircraft was carrying recently graduated troops bound for counter-insurgency operations in the south and had been trying to land on Jolo island before it crashed and burst into flames. read more
With all 96 passengers accounted for, the death toll from the crash rose to 52, including three civilians, after two of 49 injured soldiers succumbed to their injuries on Monday, the defence ministry said.
Military spokesman Edgard Arevalo said the plane was in “very good condition” and had 11,000 flying hours remaining before its next maintenance was due.
“We are determined to find out what really transpired in this very tragic incident, because according to available information the aircraft followed the specified protocols,” he told a news conference.
Agga Ahaddi, a relative of the three civilians killed, was working at a nearby quarry when he saw the plane slam into his family’s home then hit another where relatives were staying, before bursting info flames.
Source: White House and Reuters contributed to the article.