A Mississippi KC-130T Hercules crashed has killing 16 people, including 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman. The crash occurred around 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, July 10, when a U.S. the military refueling tanker crashed into a soybean field in Mississippi. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina where the plane was from, said the crash is a reminder of the dangers military personnel regularly face. An investigation into what caused the crash is underway.
Military Plane Left North Carolina For California
The KC-130T Hercules departed the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, and was taking people and equipment to Naval Air Field El Centro, California, when it crashed into a field near Itta Bena, Mississippi. Also on board the flight, according to the Marine Corps, were the personal weapons and small-arms ammunition regularly carried by military personnel.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initially contacted the Marine Corps when they lost radar contact with the plane.
Victims’ Identities Not Yet Released
The victims’ names have not been released, pending notification of their family members. A news release from the Marine Corps acknowledged the plane crash and noted that the investigation is ongoing.
“While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time,” the news release states.
Meanwhile, a statement from Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller expressed his deepest condolences to the families affected by the military plane crash. “Please keep the families of our 16 fallen service members in your thoughts and prayers,” he wrote, confirming that families were still being notified about the tragedy.
Debris from Mississippi Plane Crash Covered Miles
Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks told reporters that repeated “high-intensity explosions,” prevented firefighters from putting out the fire immediately, possibly due to ammunition catching on fire. Ultimately, it took 9,000 gallons of foam to put out the fire. The crash site spread out over a five mile radius, slowing down the search for bodies.
Andy Jones, a witness to the KC-130T crash, told reporters he heard a boom and looked up in time to see the plane spiraling down, with smoke coming from one engine. By the time he and other rescuers reached the crash site, the fires were too intense for them to search for survivors. He noted that the plane was almost entirely flattened by the force of the crash.
According to The New York Times, witnesses also reported that the plane was falling apart as it approached the ground.
“My thoughts are with the families of the Navy Corpsman and my fellow Marines who have lost their lives in this tragedy. The safety of our men and women in service requires a thorough investigation and appropriate steps to avoid a repeat in the future,” said Tim Loranger, an aviation attorney and veteran of the United States Marine Corps.