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Another 53 people were injured, most of them soldiers. It is not clear whether there were pilots among the pilots.

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Patikul, Philippines:

Philippine security forces searched a coconut tree on a remote southern island on Monday for the flight data box of a plane that crashed, killing 50 people in the country’s deadliest military plane crash.

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The Hercules C-130 transport plane was carrying mostly recent Army graduates while observing the runway as it landed in sunny weather on Zolo Island in Sulu province on Sunday.

Fifty people, including 47 military personnel and three civilians, were killed when the plane “skidded” and exploded in a village, Philippine spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

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Another 53 people were injured, most of them soldiers. It is not clear whether there were pilots among the pilots.

Village leader Tanda Hillid told AFP the three people who died on the ground were working in a quarry.

As seen in the footage released by the Joint Taskforce-Sulu, the damaged tail of the rear of the fuselage in the coconut grove and the wreckage of the smoke were shown.

“People on our soil have confirmed the pieces of evidence that we will recover, especially the flight data recorder,” Arevalo said.

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“In addition to eyewitness accounts, we are also looking for recordings between the pilot and the control tower, recordings of radio conversations.”

Arevalo said the army had secured the crash site and would ensure the island’s militants would not disrupt search efforts.

Most of the passengers graduated from basic military training and were deployed to the resistance island as part of anti-insurgency efforts in Muslim-majority areas.

There is a large military presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including Abu Sayyaf, work for ransom.

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“This is one of the most tragic incidents that has ever happened in our armed forces,” Arevalo said.

“Worst Crush”

The C-130s have been used for decades in the work of the Air Force around the world to transport horses, troops, supplies and vehicles.

The second-hand Hercules, which crashed on Sunday, was taken from the United States and delivered to the Philippines earlier this year.

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It is one of the four in the country’s fleet. Two are being repaired and another has been grounded after an accident.

“These are all seasoned and experienced pilots, which is why we can’t immediately say how it was made.”

“Even if these (military resources) are not brand new … they are aerial or marine or landable.”

Military historian and analyst Jose Antonio Custodio said the crash was the deadliest for the Philippine Air Force.

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“This is the deadliest military plane crash in the Philippines, at least 50, although a PAF C-47S crash in 191 killed 40 people,” Custodio told AFP.

It was one of the latest incidents of an Air Force crash this year.

Last month, a Black Hawk helicopter landed during a night-time training flight, killing all six. The accident prompted the Philippines to carry the entire Black Hawk fleet.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the Syndicate feed))

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