Another soldier, among those wounded from the C-130 crash in Jolo, Sulu last Sunday, has passed away, bringing the death toll to 53, Armed Forces chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Tuesday.
At least seven military personnel who died in the crash have been identified, Sobejana said.
The latest fatality late Monday night succumbed to "chemical burns" on his face.
Sobejana said some of the 46 injured personnel were still in critical condition, with four scheduled for transfer to hospitals in Davao City.
“The cadavers were beyond recognition because they were really burned, they were not able to get out of the C-130 when it exploded. So far, we have identified seven,” he said.
Sobejana said six of them were presented to President Rodrigo Duterte at the covered court of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao during his visit.
He said that DNA and dental records were being utilized to determine the identity of the burned cadavers of the soldiers.
According to him, they sought help from other experts to augment the AFP team in identifying the remains considering the large number of cadavers.
Four civilians were also injured during the crash, regarded by military officials as the worst air disaster involving a military plane in the country's history.
Of the soldiers who survived the crash, at least three tested positive for COVID-19.
With 96 people aboard the plane at the time of the accident, Sobejana said the personnel and cargo load at the time was just within its acceptable capability, quoting the chief of the military's Air Mobility Command.
The ill-fated aircraft, which the Philippines acquired from the United States earlier this year, has a maximum payload capability of 19,000 kilograms.
While it was not brand new, having been used by the US since 1988, it was in very good condition, officials have said. It also has 11,000 flying hours left.
Sobejana told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo in an interview Tuesday the plane's flight data recorder and voice cockpit recorder, which have been recovered, would be turned over to US authorities to retrieve their content.
The Philippines has no capability to open and assess the two blackboxes, he said.