US defense chief offers condolences, additional assistance on C-130 crash probe

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on Wednesday offered his deepest condolences to the Filipino people and the families of the victims of the deadly C-130 crash in Jolo, Sulu that left at least 52 people dead, mostly soldiers.

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III (DoD website)

According to a media readout issued by the Pentagon, Austin spoke over the phone with his counterpart, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and discussed critical medical evacuation support provided by US personnel for the crash victims.

“Secretary Austin offered his deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines and the families of those lost in this tragedy,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said in the readout.

The top US defense official also offered to provide any additional assistance that is possible, including for the crash response and potential identification of victims.

During their conversation, Lorenzana provided an update on the response to the incident that occurred before noon on Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Kirby said the two leaders closed the call by reaffirming their commitment to further strengthening the US-Philippines alliance, noting that they hope to meet in the coming months.

The C-130 Hercules that crashed was one of the two planes delivered in January 2021 as part of the US military assistance to the Philippines.