Philippine administrations sanctioned an inquiry on Monday into the collision of an Air Force aircraft that overshot a runway and slew more than 50 people, involving civilians, in the nation’s terrible military air casualty in almost three decades.
President Rodrigo Duterte drifted to a military headquarters in the southern city of Zamboanga, where the deceased and dozens of wounded were carried following the collision on Sunday of a vehicle aircraft the defense ministry said was in satisfactory condition.
“I commiserate with you. I am as painful as you. And as commander-in-chief, I am aching the most because of being lost,” Duterte said at a navy headquarters after greeting the flag-draped caskets.
The C-130 airliner was transmitting newly graduated battalions bound for counter-insurgency systems in the south and had been striving to land on Jolo island before it wrecked and broke into blazes.
With all 96 passengers accounted for, the loss toll from the wreck rose to 52, encompassing three civilians, after two of 49 injured combatants died to their wounds on Monday, the defense ministry said.
Military spokesman Edgard Arevalo said the aircraft was in “very nice condition” and had 11,000 running hours lasting before its next supervision was expected.
“We are unable to discover what happened in this very disastrous occurrence because according to accessible evidence the airliner obeyed the specified procedures,” he told a news committee.
Agga Ahaddi, a relative of the three civilians assassinated, was operating at a close-by quarry when he saw the aircraft smashed into his household’s residence then slam another where relatives were living, before flaring into flames.
“When the aircraft first slammed, it rode through our house,” he said.
The military authority said soldiers were drifting to the Jolo from Laguindingan, about 460 km (290 miles) away, to be deployed to their corps.
The battalion has been battling a long battle in the region against militants from the Islamic State-inspired Abu Sayyaf and other coalitions.
There was no indication the aircraft was annulled by the insurgent flame, officers said.