MANILA (UPDATE) - The number of people killed in the military plane crash in Sulu has climbed to 50 as authorities shift to retrieval operations for the aircraft's parts, an official said Monday.
Authorities have found the bodies of the remaining 5 missing troops, said Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The incident left 47 soldiers dead while 3 civilians on the ground also died.
A total of 49 military personnel were rescued, Arevalo said, and 4 civilians on the ground were injured. Thirty-two people were still in hospitals.
"Retrieval operations na ng parte ng eroplano. Ang mahalaga, hindi lang ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataon alamin, ay kung narecover na ang blackbox upang sa ganun ay makakuha tayo ng technical na impormasyon," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We're now conducting retrieval operations for parts of the plane. What's important is, I have yet to get a chance to know, we recover the blackbox so we can get technical information.)
The plane "missed the runway while trying to regain power," AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier said.
Investigation personnel are on their way to Sulu, according to Arevalo.
"Seasoned pilots ito at experienced crew ito. Sa initial information na meron tayo, tama naman ang kaniyang bilis...Tama ang approach speed, nasa tamang spot siya lumapag sa runway," he said.
(These are seasoned pilots and experienced crew. Initial information showed that their speed was right...their approach speed was right and they landed in the correct spot on the runway.)
The military's C-130 planes have since been temporarily grounded, said Arevalo. Three are undergoing maintenance, he said.
The aircraft, with tail number 5125, took off from Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base to Lumbia Airport and subsequently ferried personnel to Jolo, Philippine Air Force Spokesman Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano earlier said.
"Sila po ay nakatakdang magsilibi sa ilalim ng 11th Infantry Division na nakadeploy sa Sulu, magiging augmentation sana sila ng puwersa," Arevalo said.
(They were supposed to serve under the 11th Infantry Division deployed in Sulu, they were supposed to augment its forces.)