MANILA—A Philippine air force C-one hundred thirty aircraft carrying beat troops assigned to combat Muslim militants crashed and exploded while landing in the south Sunday, killing at least forty two army soldiers on board and a few civilians on the ground in a single of the worst disasters in the air force’s historical past.

At least 49 other soldiers were rescued with injuries and survived the fiery noontime crash into a coconut grove outdoors the Jolo airport in Sulu province, like some who managed to soar off the aircraft ahead of it exploded and was gutted by hearth, army officials explained. Three of seven villagers who were hit on the ground died.

The aircraft had ninety six people on board, like a few pilots and 5 crew while the rest were army staff, the army explained, including that 5 soldiers remained unaccounted for late Sunday. The pilots survived but were seriously hurt, officials explained.

The Lockheed C-one hundred thirty Hercules was a single of two ex-U.S. Air Force aircraft handed in excess of to the Philippines as element of army support this yr.

The aircraft initially took off from Manila with only a couple of travellers, like a two-star army common, Romeo Brawner Jr., who disembarked with his wife and a few little ones in Cagayan de Oro city, wherever he is set to turn into the new army regional commander on Monday. The army troops then boarded the C-one hundred thirty in Cagayan de Oro for the flight to Sulu.