Death toll in Sulu crash rises to 50

Critically-wounded passengers of the ill-fated C-130 aircraft that crashed in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday, 04 July 2021, were airlifted to Zamboanga City hours after the crash. MindaNews photo courtesy of Bong Serondo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 05 July) — The death toll in the ill-fated C-130 aircraft that crashed in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday has risen to 50 as of 8 a.m. Monday, 47 of them military personnel while three were civilians, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Of the 53 injured, 49 were military personnel and four were civilians. They were undergoing treatment, the DND added.

In all, 96 military personnel were aboard the C-130 aircraft, with Tail Number 5125, and they have been all accounted for, the DND said.

At least 45 persons, including 42 military personnel and three civilians, were reported killed during Sunday’s crash.

General Cirilito Sobejana, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, flew to Zamboanga City on Sunday to spearhead the response and retrieval operations.

He met with Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco at the Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB) here to discuss the city’s medical assistance for the wounded victims.

“The (AFP) Chief of Staff is here and so far, the military doctors are in charge. The local government unit’s assistance for transport has been mobilized,” Climaco said in an early morning interview.

Climaco said the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) provided five ambulances to transfer the wounded victims from the EAAB to the different hospitals in the city.

The Western Mindanao Command, headed by Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, also coordinated with CDRRMO head Dr. Elmeir Apolinario and officials of the Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) for the transfer of some crash victims.

The CDRRMO team transported seven critical patients from the EAAB to the Zamboanga City Medical Center and four patients from the military hospital in Camp Navarro to the West Metro Medical Center and the Zamboanga Doctors Hospital.

On Sunday night, eight other crash victims arrived at the CNGH and were transferred to another hospital, Climaco said.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the soldiers aboard the ill-fated aircraft were supposed to report to their assigned units on Sunday.

“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” he said.

The flight manifest at the Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City where the victims boarded showed that of the 84 Army personnel, two were technical sergeants, 12 were corporals, seven were sergeants, two were staff sergeants, 44 were privates and 17 were privates first class.