17 killed in a military plane crash in the southern Philippines

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The Philippine authorities announced on Sunday that at least 17 people were killed when a military plane carrying soldiers crashed in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.

The Philippine Air Force C-130 crashed while trying to land, with 92 people on board.

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The Associated Press quoted military officials as saying that at least 17 people were killed in the accident, while 40 others were rescued from the burning wreckage.

Defense Minister Delphine Lorenzana said that the plane was carrying 92 people, including 3 pilots, 5 crew members, and the rest of the army, stressing that rescue efforts are continuing.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two former US Air Force aircraft that was delivered to the Philippines as part of military assistance this year.

The Philippine Army Chief of Staff, General Cirilito Sobejana, said in a press statement that the plane crashed while trying to land.

This was shortly before noon Sunday in the village of Pangkal in the mountainous town of Patikul in the southern province of Sulu.

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Sobejana added that the plane was carrying soldiers from the southern city of Cagayan de Oro, where government forces have been battling Abu Sayyaf militants in the Muslim-majority province of Solo for decades.

He pointed out that the plane “missed the landing strip and was trying to regain its strength, but it failed and crashed,” adding, “It is very unfortunate.”

The military official said that at least 40 people on board the crashed plane have been taken to hospital, and forces are trying to rescue the rest. It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.

The “Abu Sayyaf” group, founded by defectors from the “Moro National Liberation Front”, has adopted armed action since 1991 to establish an “independent Islamic state” in the regions of Western Mindanao and Sulu.

The Philippines and the United States have listed the group as a terrorist group.