A raw footage taken moments before a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 transport aircraft crashed in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday, July 4, made rounds on social media and sent chills to netizens who have watched it.
In a 1:47-minute long video posted on Facebook by Aksyon Radio Iloilo, an unidentified man captured the final moments of the crashed C-130 aircraft with tail number 5125 with 96 military personnel onboard. The incident killed 47 military personnel and three civilian residents, and injured 53 others including 49 soldiers.
In the video, the cargo plane was seen landing at the Jolo Airport in Sulu which borders Patikul town. However, the man taking the video noticed that the plane suddenly went missing as he started shouting: “Nahulog sir (It fell down, sir.)
Military personnel on the runway were seen rushing towards the plane where it was believed to have fallen down as thick smoke enveloped the crash site.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said the plane appeared to have overshot the runway.
“Nag-overshoot siguro tapos dere-deretso hanggang tumama doon sa bato (It must have overshot and went straight until it hit a boulder),” he said.
Chronology of events
In a press briefing Monday, July 5, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), detailed the chronology of the events of the crash.
He said the C-130 cargo plane took off from the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Sunday morning.
It then made a stop at Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City to ferry Philippine Army (PA) personnel, most of whom were fres graduates from a military training, to their deployment in Sulu, a hotbed of Islamic State (IS)-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
As seen in videos shared online, the cargo plane reached Jolo Airport around 11:30 a.m. where it crashed moments after landing.
Arevalo said an investigation was already conducted to determine what caused the plane crash which he considered as “one of the most tragic” aviation accidents in the history of the armed forces.
AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana also flew to Sulu on Monday to personally oversee the ongoing investigation.
“What is yet to be determined is why the aircraft went out of the runway,” Arevalo told reporters.
Among the angles being looked into are the condition of the aircraft, the runway, possible human error, and if the plane was overloaded.
However, he said that the aircraft, which was delivered only in January this year, was in “tip-top” shape and airworthy.
He also described the pilots as “seasoned” and “veterans.”
“The aircraft is not brand new but it is in very good condition. It has 11,000 flying hours left. There is no truth to the rumor that it is defective,” he noted.
The remains of the deceased personnel and civilians were all retrieved as identification of the victims was ongoing.
“Most of the remains are charred but we have the means to identify them,” Arevalo said.
He said the AFP will match the dental records of all personnel who were in the flight manifest to the retrieved bodies.
Forensic experts from the AFP and other government agencies will also help in the identification of the fatalities.
The investigating team will also try to recover the blackbox or flight data recorder of the crashed C-130 to help determine the cause of the crash.