Philippines plane, involved in worst military air disaster in 30 years, was given by US: Report
At least 17 people were feared dead on Sunday when a Philippine C-130 military aircraft carrying troops crash-landed in the southern part of the country. It has now come to light that the aircraft, which is now part of the Philippines' worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years, was actually granted by the US government for heavy airlifting purposes.
A government website announcement in January, reviewed by news agency Reuters, confirmed that the Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transport plane was one of the two aircraft granted by the US government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The model, a workhorse for armed forces around the world, had first flown in 1988, according to the C-130.net website.
The Lockheed C-130 aircraft, of registration 5125, had only arrived in the Philippines recently. The website even quoted an air force spokesperson as saying the aircraft would provide enhanced capability for heavy airlift missions.
This is not the first time that the Philippines armed forces have come under scrutiny for having a patchy record on air safety. A Black Hawk helicopter crashed only last month during a training mission, killing six people.
Another C-130 aircraft of the Philippines Air Force had crashed back in 1993, killing 30 people. A 2008 crash by the civilian variant of the Lockheed plane flown by the Philippines Air Force killed 11 people, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
However, the worst plane crash in the country's records took place in 2000, when the infamous Boeing 737 -- an aircraft that has come to the news recently for being part of several recent air disasters -- crashed, killing 131 people.
The Sunday incident took place shortly before noon at the Bangkal village in the mountainous town of Patikul in the country's Sulu province, military officials said. As many as 40 people have been pulled out from underneath the burning wreckage, the government has said, confirming that the rescue operation is currently ongoing.