ZAMBOANGA CITY – Divine intervention saved one of the soldiers in the July 4 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu.
Private First Class (PFC) Ganney Ligayan, 28, said he sat tight, closed his eyes, and prayed when he felt the plane was crashing at about 11:30 a.m. in Sitio Amman, Barangay Bangkal, Patikul.
“I closed my eyes and prayed. I (was) conscious. I really felt when I was thrown from the plane,” Ligayan said in an interview Thursday. “When I open(ed) my eyes, I saw two privates (soldiers) in front of me. They (were) alive. When I turn(ed) around, I saw the plane burning and people were screaming.”
He, however, said he could not recall who the two soldiers were since “they have the same style of haircuts, but I know they are alive, though injured.”
He added that suddenly, an unidentified man came to his aid, as he could no longer stand up, and took him to a safe distance.
He later learned that the person is a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) from the detachment in Barangay Bangkal who were among the first responders.
“I am happy. I never thought that someone, a stranger, will help me. I thought it’s the end of my life because I know that it is seldom to have survivors in a plane crash incident,” Ligayan said. “It is also hurting that some of my batch (classmates) in the training, including my seniors, perished although I am alive.”
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force (JTF) – Sulu commander, earlier said 27 militiamen from the 8th Civilian Active Auxiliary Company based at the detachment of Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, amid the burning wreckage, rushed to the crash site seconds after the C-130 aircraft with tail number 5125 had crashed.
Gonzales said the militiamen meticulously sifted through the crash site to look for survivors and brought them into safer grounds unmindful of their own safety.
“I wish to personally meet him and thank him for saving me during the incident,” said Ligayan, who is recuperating along with 13 other soldiers at Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.
Ligayan, who is from Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, said he volunteered to be assigned from Surigao to Jolo, Sulu since his new assignment is near his native place.
He enlisted in the Army and underwent training with the 1st Infantry Division and after graduation, was assigned to the 75th Infantry Battalion (75IB) of the 6th Infantry Division (6ID) in Central Mindanao.
After a month, he was reassigned to Surigao when the 4ID absorbed the 75IB.
He was supposed to report to his new assignment at the 35IB in Patikul, Sulu when the tragedy happened. (PNA)