A Philippine military plane with 96 soldiers and crew members aboard crashed on the southern island of Jolo, officials said.
The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft was carrying 96 people, mostly troops, when it overshot a runway at Jolo airport in Sulu province on Sunday. Many of those on board had only recently completed basic military training.
At least 50 people were killed, including three civilians on the ground, and it was feared that the toll would climb.
There was no sign of any attack on the plane.
The plane, which came down at 11:30 local time (03:30 GMT) was carrying troops from Cagayan de Oro, on the southern island of Mindanao.
“It missed the runway, trying to regain power but it didn’t make it,” armed forces chief Gen Sobejana told reporters.
Sobejana said that the plane missed a runway while trying to land and that it crashed near a village called Bangkal in the town of Patikul, a stronghold of the militant group known as Abu Sayyaf.
A statement from the regional military force, Joint Task Force Sulu, said “a number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash”.
The military said that 42 who were on the plane had been confirmed dead, with 49 others injured and five others still unaccounted for.
A spokesperson from the Armed Forces of the Philippines told news site ABS-CBN that they were looking for the flight data recorder to find out why exactly the plane might have crashed.
“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors,” Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said in a statement.
(With inputs from Reuters)