At least 17 people were killed when a military plane came down in southern Philippines.
The plane – Lockheed C-130 Hercules – was carrying 97 passengers, mostly troops when it overshot the runway while landing on the island of Jolo.
Seventeen bodies were found at the crash site. 47 people were rescued alive from the burning wreckage and were shifted to a nearby military hospital. At least 33 people are yet to be accounted for.
A large ball of black smoke was seen above the wreckage of the American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft.
The C-130 aircraft had recently arrived in the Philippines, Reuters reported. It was one of two aircraft granted by the US government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, according to a government website announcement in January.
The plane came down at 11:30am local time, a few kilometres from the town of Jolo, was carrying troops from Cagayan de Oro, on the southern island of Mindanao.
“It missed the runway, trying to regain power but it didn’t make it,” armed forces chief Gen Sobejana told reporters.
The soldiers were part of the military’s stepped-up presence in the southern Philippines to combat Islamist militants such as the Abu Sayyaf group.
Officials said there was no sign that the aircraft had been attacked, and an investigation would start once the rescue operation was complete.
Many of those on board had only recently completed basic military training, AFP reported.
According to Reuters, this is the country’s worst military air disaster in around 30 years. In 1993, a Philippines Air Force C-130 crashed, killing 30 people.