2021 Philippine Air Force C-130 crash

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2021 Philippine Air Force C-130 crash
C-130H 5125.jpg
5125, the C-130H of the Philippine Air Force involved in the crash, photographed in March 2021
Accident
DateJuly 4, 2021 (2021-07-04)
SummaryFailed go-around attempt, resulting in loss of control; under investigation
SitePatikul, near Jolo Airport, Sulu, Philippines
06°03′09″N 121°01′39″E / 6.05250°N 121.02750°E / 6.05250; 121.02750Coordinates: 06°03′09″N 121°01′39″E / 6.05250°N 121.02750°E / 6.05250; 121.02750
Aircraft
Aircraft typeLockheed C-130H Hercules
Operator Philippine Air Force
Registration5125
Flight originVillamor Air Base, Pasay, Philippines
StopoverLumbia Airfield, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
DestinationJolo Airport, Sulu, Philippines
Occupants104
Passengers96
Crew8
Fatalities50
Injuries46
Survivors54
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities3
Ground injuries4

On July 4, 2021, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed after an attempted landing at Jolo Airport in Sulu, Philippines.[1] With 53 deaths, of which 50 people were on the aircraft and 3 on the ground, the incident is the deadliest aviation accident in Philippine military history, the fourth deadliest on Philippine soil, and the second deadliest to occur in 2021, behind Sriwijaya Air Flight 182.[2]

Background[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

The aircraft at Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam in January 2021

The aircraft involved in the incident is a Lockheed C-130H Hercules operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with the tail number 5125.[3] A former United States Air Force aircraft in service since February 1988, it was acquired by the PAF through a grant by the United States government's Defense Security Cooperation Agency in January 2021.[4][5] The Philippine military has maintained that the aircraft was in good condition and had 11,000 flying hours left before its next maintenance was due.[6] The PAF has three other C-130s in its inventory prior to the crash; two C-130s undergoing maintenance and repair in Portugal and one C-130 operational.[7]

Passengers and crew[edit]

At the time of the crash, there were 104 military personnel on board; including 3 pilots and 5 other aircrew.[8] 50 of the personnel came from the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division training unit of Malaybalay, Bukidnon.[9] Five military vehicles were also on board.[10] The soldiers on board were meant to augment the Jolo-based 11th Infantry Division which is after the Abu Sayyaf group operating in the area.[11][12]

Accident[edit]

On July 4, 2021, the aircraft took off from Villamor Air Base in Pasay and headed to Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan de Oro. From Cagayan de Oro, the aircraft transported personnel to Jolo, Sulu.[13] At 11:30 a.m. Philippine Time (UTC+08:00), the plane crashed after attempting to land at Jolo Airport.[1][14][15] The aircraft overshot the runway, crashed in the nearby municipality of Patikul, and caught fire.[16][17]

Fifty military personnel on board, including the pilot in command, and 3 civilians on the ground died, while 46 occupants on board and 4 civilians on the ground were injured.[18][19][20] The 3 civilian deaths involved quarry workers.[21][22] The crash is the Philippine Air Force's deadliest aviation accident in history, surpassing the 1971 Douglas C-47 Skytrain crash in Floridablanca, Pampanga which killed 40 people.[23][24]

Response[edit]

The Joint Task Force Sulu (JTF Sulu) of the Philippine military conducted a search and rescue operation to retrieve the bodies of the dead and assist survivors.[25] Tausug civilians as well as members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) militia also reportedly helped extract survivors of the burning crash site.[26] The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police's Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO BAR), and the Sulu provincial government promised assistance to the military and affected civilians on the ground.[13][27][28] The United States sent an emergency medical services unit to provide support to the survivors of the crash.[29][30]

Most people who died from the crash were burned beyond recognition and their identities had to be determined through various means including DNA testing and relying on surviving clothing and accessories and body marks.[31]

On July 5, President Rodrigo Duterte travelled to the Western Mindanao Command of the AFP in Zamboanga City to pay his respects to the families of the military personnel who were killed in the crash.[32] The AFP also declared a six-day mourning period, ordering that all flags in camps and military installation across the country be flown at half-mast.[8] Several countries sent condolences to the Philippines following the crash.[33]

Due to the crash, the first air-to-air bilateral training of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and the Philippine Air Force at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga was modified. In-flight training was cancelled with the exercise focusing on on-ground training; including load or offload training and simulated emergency procedure which involved a lone C-130 of the JSDF.[34]

The modernization program has also been a subject of discussion in the Congress of the Philippines, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The policy of acquiring second-hand military assets through foreign loans was also questioned.[7]

The crash was captured on camera, and a video of the incident later circulated on social media.[35]

Investigation[edit]

The Department of National Defense and the military has urged the public to refrain from spreading "highly speculative statements" about the incident and assured that an investigation on the crash is already being done.[36][37]

The military has ruled out the possibility that the crash was caused by an attack against the aircraft.[38] Among the angles being considered are the condition of the aircraft, the runway, if there was a human error, and if the plane was overloaded.[36] An investigating team from the AFP arrived at the crash site on July 5.[39] The aircraft's flight recorder and voice cockpit recorder were both recovered. Both were sent to the United States so that the recorded data from the devices could be retrieved.[40][41]

The military disclosed to the public in September 2021 that there is no single attributable cause for the crash in Sulu. The report said that the accident was "most probably due to actual or perceived material factors and induced human factors which were aggravated by local and environmental conditions.” It added that the “aircraft component, environmental condition and aircrew response led to unrecoverable stall in a critical phase of the aircraft operation".[42]

Aftermath[edit]

The first flight of a C-130 since the July crash by the Philippine military would be successfully made on December 11, 2021.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nepomuceno, Priam (July 4, 2021). "C-130 crashes in Patikul, Sulu". Philippine News Agency. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  2. ^ ASN Aviation Safety Database Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  3. ^ "Philippine Air Force C-130H plane crashes in Sulu – Manila Bulletin". Manila Bulletin. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  4. ^ Pulta, Benjamin (July 5, 2021). "Sulu plane crash underscores need to modernize military". Philippine News Agency. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  5. ^ Nepomuceno, Priam (January 30, 2021). "Air Force gets C-130H aircraft from US". Philippine News Agency. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Cabico, Gaea Katreena (July 5, 2021). "AFP: C-130 in Sulu crash not brand new but in 'tip-top' shape". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Punongbayan, Michael; Felipe, Cecille Suerte; Lee-Brago, Pia; Porcalla, Delon; Romero, Paolo; Pareño, Roel; Unson, John; Jaymalin, Mayen; Villanueva, Rhodina; Regalado, Edith (July 5, 2021). "'C-130 in tip-top shape'". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Acosta, Rene; de la Cruz, Jovee Marie (July 5, 2021). "6-day period of mourning as C-130 crash fatalities rise to 52". BusinessMirror. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021. The Department of the National Defense (DND) and AFP both said that the ill-fated aircraft has 96 military personnel in its flight manifest, excluding the three pilots and five aircrew.
  9. ^ "Most victims in Sulu plane crash new soldiers from 4th Infantry Division". Rappler. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Dancel, Raul (July 4, 2021). "'It missed the runway': At least 45 killed in military plane crash in southern Philippines". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Soldiers in plane crash meant to reinforce Sulu troops vs Abu Sayyaf". The Philippine Star. July 5, 2021. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "Crash of a Douglas C-47A-20-DK at Basa AFB: 40 killed". Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Death toll rises in C-130 plane crash in Sulu, several still missing". ABS-CBN News. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  14. ^ "Philippines military plane crashes with 92 on board". BBC News. BBC. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Cabrera, Ferdinandh (July 4, 2021). "Philippine Air Force C-130 plane crashes in Sulu". GMA News. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Cabrera, Ferdinandh (July 4, 2021). "C-130 plane crashes near Jolo; at least 85 on board". MindaNews. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "17 dead, 40 injured after Philippine Air Force plane crashes in Sulu". CNN Philippines. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Philippines retrieves black boxes from crashed military plane". Reuters. July 6, 2021. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  19. ^ "Death toll from Sulu plane crash still at 52, AFP clarifies; 19 bodies identified". CNN Philippines. July 7, 2021. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Another soldier in C-130 crash in Sulu has died, says AFP". GMA News. July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said another critically wounded soldier in the C-130 crash in Sulu has died, bringing the death toll to 53, including 50 soldiers and three civilians.
  21. ^ "'We are in rescue mode': Dozens dead after Philippines' worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years". SBS News. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "Philippines orders probe after worst military accident in 3 decades". Reuters. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "In Pictures: Philippine military's worst air disaster kills 50". Al Jazeera. July 5, 2021. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  24. ^ Punzalan, Jamaine (July 5, 2021). "'Worst crash of military aircraft:' Philippines mourns dozens killed in Sulu plane crash". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  25. ^ "Philippine military transport crashes, killing dozens". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  26. ^ Sumangil, Franz (July 10, 2021). "Tausug rescuers celebrated as 'heroes'". The Manila Times. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  27. ^ Carreon, Frencie (July 5, 2021). "Kin of soldiers who died in Sulu crash to get gov't help". MindaNews. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  28. ^ Pareño, Roel (July 10, 2021). "Civilian victims of Sulu plane crash get more aid". The Philippine Star. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  29. ^ Marquez, Consuelo (July 4, 2021). "US Embassy readies medical aid for survivors of Sulu plane crash". GMA News. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  30. ^ Carreon, Frencie (July 6, 2021). "US gov't extends medical aid to C-130 crash victims". MindaNews. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  31. ^ "Pagkilala sa mga bangkay sa C-130 crash pahirapan pero patuloy" [Identification of the remains of the C-130 crash difficult but still ongoing]. ABS-CBN News (in Tagalog). July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  32. ^ News, ABS-CBN (July 5, 2021). "Duterte honors soldiers killed in plane crash, promises aid". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  33. ^ Ramos, Christia Marie (July 5, 2021). "More countries 'deeply saddened' by deadly Sulu plane crash". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  34. ^ "Japan air force condoles with Philippines over Sulu crash". ABS-CBN News. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  35. ^ Sadongdong, Martin (July 5, 2021). "Caught on cam: Video shows horrifying PAF C-130 cargo plane crash in Sulu – Manila Bulletin". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  36. ^ a b Sadongdong, Martin (July 5, 2021). "Lorenzana slams 'baseless' allegations on tragic Sulu crash – Manila Bulletin". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  37. ^ Dancel, Raul (July 5, 2021). "Philippines starts probe into deadly military plane crash, as death toll climbs to 52". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  38. ^ "Military rules out attack on cargo plane in Sulu crash". GMA News. July 4, 2021. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  39. ^ Reyes, Dempsey (July 5, 2021). "Probe of C-130 crash begins". The Manila Times. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  40. ^ "Another C-130 crash survivor passes away; death toll climbs to 53". ABS-CBN News. July 6, 2021. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  41. ^ "Black box recovered from crash site of Philippines military plane". Al Jazeera. Reuters. July 6, 2021. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  42. ^ Villanueva, Ralph Edwin (September 3, 2021). "'Several factors led to C-130 plane crash'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  43. ^ Abarro, Mico (December 11, 2021). "PH military marks first C-130 flight since deadly July crash". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved January 22, 2022.