Military Olympians salute victims of Sulu C-130 crash
MANILA, Philippines — Enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz and boxer Eumir Felix Marcial, will dedicate their participation in the Tokyo Olympics to the victims of the C-130 Hercules aircraft crash in Sulu.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Cirilito Sobejana on Wednesday said 19 of the 49 military personnel killed in last Sunday’s crash had been identified.
He pointed out that the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CDR) of the crashed C-130 needed to be shipped to the United States for the extraction of the data in them. Sobejana, in a statement on Wednesday, quoted Airman First Class Marcial and Sergeant Diaz telling him in a virtual courtesy call on Tuesday, “We offer our best performance in our respective events to our countrymen and our fellow soldiers, especially those who suffered in the tragic C-130 plane crash.”
Marcial, who is training in the United States, and Diaz, who is in Malaysia, are set to represent the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics slated from July 23 to Aug. 8. Diaz plucked a silver medal in the women’s 53-kilogram weightlifting division of the 2016 Rio Olympics, while Marcial is a professional boxer and has garnered gold medals in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the 2011 Aiba Youth World boxing championships.
The AFP has identified 19 of 49 military personnel who died in the C-130 crash in Patikul, Sulu. Sobejana clarified on Wednesday that the death toll in last Sunday’s tragic mishap was still at 52, including three civilians, explaining “there was a double count” among military fatalities.
On Tuesday, he said the number of fatalities among military personnel was at 50. But on Wednesday, Sobejana said there were 52 fatalities, including 49 military personnel and three civilians, and 51 injured persons, 47 of them AFP personnel.
The AFP chief of staff announced the names of the 19 identified crash fatalities as PAF personnel: Maj. Emmanuel Makalintal, Maj. Michael Vincent Benolerao, 1Lt. Joseph Hintay, Technical Sgt. Mark Anthony Agana, Technical Sgt. Donald Badoy, Staff Sgt. Jan Neil Macapaz, Staff Sgt. Michael Bulalaque and Sgt. Jack Navarro.
Also among them were: Capt. Higello Emeterio of the AFP Medical Corps and 1Lt. Sheena Alexandria Tato of the AFP Nurse Corps.
Identified fatalities from the Philippine Army were: Sgt. Butch Maestro, Private First Class Christopher Rollon, Private First Class Felixzalday Provido, as well as Privates Raymar Carmona, Vic Monera, Mark Nash Lumanta, Jomar Gabas, Marcelino Alquisar and Mel Mark Angana.
Among the 96 passengers of the ill-fated C-130 Hercules transport aircraft were 12 Air Force personnel and 84 Army soldiers.
The AFP chief of staff said, “This is a very hard task since the cadavers were beyond recognition but we have experts supporting our efforts. We are doing our best to expedite the identification and the ongoing investigation without compromising its credibility.”
The Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory Service has been tapped to help out in identifying the fatalities.
In an interview on Wednesday at GMA News, Sobejana disclosed that the crashed C-130 aircraft’s FDR and CDR were to be shipped to the United States for the extraction of the collected data.
“We have no capability locally to open and see what’s inside them. We’re sending them to the (United States) and we’ve spoken to our American counterpart who committed to pass onto us the contents as soon as they’ve opened (the FDR and CDR) to help us out in our crash investigation,” the AFP chief of staff said. INQ
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