The C-130 military plane was carrying troops from Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Sulu province when it missed the runway on Jolo Island, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported, citing the chief of the Cirilito Sobejana armed forces.
The plane crashed into the nearby village of Patikul at 11:30 a.m. local time on Sunday (11:30 p.m. ET), according to the report.
Footage from a local television station appeared to show the burning wreckage of the plane and thick smoke billowing from the village. A large plume of smoke is visible in footage of the crash rising through the palms into the blue sky.
Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said at least 40 people were rescued and being treated at a military hospital in Jolo, CNN Philippines reported.
The plane was carrying 92 people on board, including three pilots and five crew members. The rest were army personnel reporting for duty, Lorenzana said in a statement.
He said at least 17 bodies were found during the rescue efforts.
Military and civilian firefighters have been deployed to extinguish the blaze and rescue operations are focused on removing survivors from the crash site, according to CNN Philippines.
According to Reuters, it was the country’s worst military air disaster in about 30 years. In 1993, a Philippine Air Force C-130 crashed, killing 30 people.
The C-130 plane had recently arrived in the Philippines, Reuters reported. It was one of two planes granted by the US government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, according to an announcement posted on the government website in January.
This is a developing story.
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