Philippine military plane crashes, 17 dead, 40 rescued

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A Philippine air force C-130 aircraft carrying troops crashed in a southern province after missing the runway Sunday, killing at least 17 military personnel while at least 40 were rescued from the burning wreckage, officials said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said rescue and recovery efforts were ongoing. The aircraft had 92 people on board, including three pilots and five crew and the rest were army personnel, military officials said. The pilots survived but were seriously injured.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two ex-U.S. Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines as part of military assistance this year. It crashed on landing shortly before noon Sunday in Bangkal village in the mountainous town of Patikul in Sulu province, military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.

Sobejana said at least 40 people on board were brought to a hospital and troops were trying to save the rest.

Initial pictures released by the military showed the tail section of the cargo plane. The other parts of the plane were burned or scattered in pieces in a clearing surrounded by coconut trees. Soldiers and other rescuers with stretchers are seen dashing into and from the smoke-shrouded crash site.

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