By Priam Nepomuceno
AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Wednesday said 16 out of the 50 military troops who perished in the July 4 crash of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130H “Hercules” cargo plane in Patikul, Sulu have been identified.
In an interview with GMA’s morning show “Unang Hirit”, Sobejana said these include the two PAF personnel whose remains were transported to Clark Air Base in Pampanga Tuesday afternoon.
“Sixteen na po yung nakilala out of the number of passengers who perished dun sa naturang crash, at yung dalawa po kahapon in-airlift na sa Clark lulan ng ating NC-212i, another type of aircraft, at dalawa naman ay trinansport natin by land dahil Mindanao lang sila (Sixteen of those who perished in the crash were already identified and two of them were already airlifted to Clark by our NC-212i, another transport aircraft (operated by the Air Force) and two more were transported by land to Mindanao since they are based there),” he said.
Sobejana was referring to PAF Capt. Nigello Emetrio and T/Sgt. Mark Agana, who were brought to Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga from Zamboanga City via an NC-212i transport aircraft.
Aside from the 50 military fatalities, three civilians also died in the mishap.
The latest military fatality was a soldier confined at the West Metro Medical Center, Zamboanga City who succumbed to chemical burns on Monday night, Sobejana said.
Meanwhile, 46 soldiers and four civilians were wounded in the incident.
Sobejana also said DNA testing and dental records matching are used in identifying the victims who were burned beyond recognition.
A scene of the crime operation team from the Philippine National Police is also helping in identifying the fatalities.
Sobejana also thanked burn specialists sent by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who are now helping in the treatment of the injured military personnel and Tausug residents in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul who were among the first to help the crash victims. (PNA)