MANILA - Seven out of 49 soldiers who were killed in the C-130 plane crash in Sulu have been identified and the aircraft's black box has been recovered, the military said Tuesday.
Three civilians were killed while 47 soldiers and 4 civilians were wounded in the incident last Sunday, said Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.
The fallen soldiers will be identified through DNA testing and their dental records, he said.
The plane's black box was recovered at 11 a.m. Monday, Sobejana added.
"Sa ngayon nasa mga investigators na po at 'yun ang sinusuri nila at pinapakinggan kung ano ang naging last conversation ng pilot sa crew," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Right now, it's with the investigators and they're looking into what the last conversation was between the pilot and crew.)
Sobejana said he has ordered the Philippine Air Force to review the airworthiness of the military's aircraft and its standard safety and procedures.
The Armed Forces is open to legislative investigation, he added.
"It’s the prerogative of Congress and anybody who wanted to investigate sa naturang insidente ay welcome po sa amin (the incident are welcome to do so)," he said.
SOLDIERS JUMPED OFF AIRCRAFT
Some soldiers had jumped off the plane prior to its crash, said "Carlo," a resident of Patikul town who responded to the scene.
"Nakatayo kami sa daan tapos naguusap-usap kami doon na mga kasama ko. Bigla na lang may narinig kaming malakas tapos sumabog sa harapan namin," he said.
(We were standing beside the road and talking to each other when we heard something loud and it exploded in front of us.)
"Tumalsik ang mga sundalo sa harapan namin tapos may natabunang 3 bahay. Tinulungan namin ang mga sundalo, sir. 'Yung iba tumalon, 'yung iba nasunog na doon sa loob."
(Soldiers were flying before our eyes and the plane crashed into 3 houses. Some soldiers jumped while some burned inside.)
Carlo said he was able to rescue 4 soldiers.
"'Yung iba di na namin natulungan," he said. "Tumulo pa ang luha ko nung kinuha ko ang nasusunog."
(We could not help the others. I shed a tear when I rescued one soldier on fire.)
It was a "close call" for Major Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., who was a passenger of the aircraft earlier in the day along with his wife and children.
Brawner and his family rode the plane from Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base to Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City to attend a change of command ceremony.
"Tumayo agad ang balahibo ko because muntik na, it was a close call. Imagine I was on board that C-130 kasama ang pamilya ko (with my family)," he said.
(It was hair-raising because it was a close call.)
"Nakikiramay kami sa mga pamilya ng mga sundalo nating nasawi sa crash ng C-130. Nagdadasal din po kami kasama ng ibang pamilya na isa sa mga buhay, isa sa mga survivors."
(We condole with the families of soldiers who died on that C-130 crash, we also pray with families of those who survived it.)