AFP identifies remains of 19 soldiers in Sulu plane crash

AFP identifies remains of 19 soldiers in Sulu plane crash
In this handout photo taken on July 4, 2021 and received from the Philippine military Joint Task Force-Sulu (JTF-Sulu), rescue workers arrive as smoke billows from the wreckage of a Philippine Airforce C-130 transport plane after it crashed near the airport in Jolo town, Sulu province, near southern island of Mindanao.
Handout / Joint Task Force-Sulu / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday said it has identified the remains of 19 military personnel who died at the C-130 plane crash in Patikul in Sulu.

AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana sought to clarify that the death toll from the incident is still at 49, and that there had been a double count. Yesterday, he told reporters that the figure was at 50, after another soldier died from chemical burns.

Sobejana said identifying the remains has been difficult since many were now beyond recognition.

"But we have experts supporting our efforts," he added. "We are doing our best to expedite the identification and the ongoing investigation without compromising its credibility."

Those from the Philippine Air Force were: Maj. Emmanuel Makalintal, Maj. Michael Vincent Benolerao, 1Lt. Joseph Hintay, TSgt. Mark Anthony Agana, TSgt. Donald Badoy, SSgt. Jan Neil Macapaz, SSgt. Michael Bulalaque and Sgt. Jack Navarro.

AFP said Capt. Nigello Emeterio from its medical corps and 1Lt. Sheena Alexandria Tato from the nurse corps were among those positively identified, too. 

From the Army, there were: Sgt. Butch Maestro, PFC. Christopher Rollon, PFC. Felixzalday Provido, Privates Raymar Carmoana, Vic Monera, Mark Nash Lumanta, Jomar Gabas, Marcelino Alquisar and Mel Mark Angana. 

The military said 11 of the remains have since been transported to their hometowns. The remains of 1Lt. Tato is being transported via C295 aircraft, and seven more remains being prepared for air and land transport. 

Sobejana said efforts are still on identifying 30 more remains currently in Zamboanga City and on the ongoing probe on the crash. 

Some 96 were aboard the Hercules C-130 when it crashed in Patikul on July 4. The plane bursted into flames after missing the runway while trying to land. 

Three civilians were also killed from the incident and 46 were injured. 

The government has vowed that families would receive benefits and assistance accorded to them. 

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