Material, human, environment conditions caused C-130 crash in Sulu: military

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2021 12:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2021 08:40 PM

A C-130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force with tail #5125 burns after it crashed in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu on July 4, 2021. Photo courtesy of Pondohan TV
A C-130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force with tail #5125 burns after it crashed in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu on July 4, 2021. Photo courtesy of Pondohan TV

MANILA - Material, human and environmental factors caused a C-130 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to crash in Sulu in July killing 50 people, the military said Thursday.

Citing the investigating team's report, "no single factor" can be attributed to the crash, said AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala.

"It was most probably due to actual or perceived material factors, and induced human factors which were aggravated by local and environment conditions," he said in a statement.

"The aircraft component, the environmental condition and aircrew response led to unrecoverable stall in a critical phase of the aircraft operation."

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) had grounded the C-130 fleet, of which 4 were left, following the crash.

The country had acquired the aircraft involved in the incident from the United States earlier this year. It was not brand new, having been used by the US since 1988, but was in very good condition and had 11,000 flying hours left, officials said. 

It was transporting Army troopers for deployment in Sulu.

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CHOPPER CRASH IN TARLAC

A "confluence of events" also triggered the crash of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter in Tarlac in June, Zagala said.

The helicopter, one of 16 purchased in 2019 from Poland, crashed after taking off from a former US military base in Pampanga, according to the PAF.
 

"Investigators found out that the chopper inadvertently entered a thunderstorm that might have affected its systems and was compounded by spatial disorientation or vertigo by the pilot, as the cause of the accident," Zagala said.

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The goal of the investigations were to "determine the cause of the accident rather than apportion blame," the military spokesman pointed out.

"This will help us avoid similar events in the future by implementing additional safety initiatives, strengthening protocols and procedures, as well as instituting training interventions for our aircrew and personnel," he said.

"This shall put further protection to our assets, especially our members who continue to risk their lives to protect our people and the country."

Much of the equipment used by the Philippine military is aging, including World War II-era warships and Vietnam War-vintage aircraft, and the government has allotted more than $6 billion to upgrade its defense capability between 2018 to 2022. 

--With reports from Reuters