PH Air Force shoots down rumors overloading caused C-130 crash
MANILA, Philippines—There was no overloading in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 transport plane that crashed on Sunday (July 4) with 96 persons on board while trying to land in Sulu, the PAF said on Tuesday (July 6).
“The said C-130 was not overloaded,” said Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano, PAF spokesperson, in a statement.
“It was well within the operational limits and capacity when it left Laguindingan Airport with 96 passengers compared to its maximum capacity of 120 passengers,” Mariano said. “This is contrary to the circulating rumor that the aircraft was overloaded,” he said.
The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, which have been found by search and recovery teams, will be shipped to a facility that would evaluate and analyze the data, he said.
A team from the 220th Airlift Wing Aircraft Accident Investigation Board, composed of pilots, maintenance, medical and other technical personnel, are already on site to investigate the crash.
The PAF vowed to institute corrective actions based on the results of the investigation.
The PAF said it has stepped up its flight safety management measures under Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes in 2020 through the Safety Transformation for Enhanced Performance and Unit Preservation, or STEP UP, program.
“Notably, the PAF discarded the 1970s-inspired PAF Manual 17-5 ‘Safety Program’ and institutionalized the Safety Management Systems Manual that adopted applicable principles and standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization,” Mariano said.
It also launched the PAF Safety Climate Assessment and Notations program to gauge prevailing safety culture in units in terms of just, informed, learning and reporting cultures, he said. PAF also launched online safety courses for squadron commanders and other personnel, among others, he added.
Over 70 people, mostly soldiers, have been killed in military aircraft accidents since 2020 involving brand new and old assets. Sunday’s accident was the deadliest in recent Philippine military history.
Mariano said of the 96 passengers on board, 12 were PAF personnel: 3 pilots; 5 crew men; 3 S-7team members; and one thru passenger.
“Currently, the priority effort is identifying the bodies of the PAF personnel through various means with the help of a SOCO team,” he said.
The remains of Cpt. Nigello Emetrio and TSgt. Mark Anthony Agana arrived at Clark Air Base from Zamboanga City via a NC212i transport aircraft on Tuesday afternoon.