Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

5 reported dead in military plane crash

5 reported dead in military plane crash

A U.S. military aircraft crashed in rural MS on Monday, leaving sixteen service members dead, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The estimate of at least 16 dead was offered by Fred Randle, the emergency management director in Leflore County, who gave a brief interview following the crash. A KC-130 plane is an extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules military aircraft, which has been modified to enable aerial refueling.

The KC-130 Hercules aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar over MS after taking off from Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Dramatic footage from broadcaster "WLBT" showed a large plane on fire in the middle of a field of crops, with smoke billowing up.

The KC-130 aircraft is used for air-to-air refueling, to carry cargo and perform tactical passenger missions.

Local catfish farmer Andy Jones described the force of the crash as almost flattening the plane, which he said could barely be seen above the waist-high bean crop.

Hours before the Marines officially identified the squadron, several people posted on Facebook that the plane came from VMGR-452.

Leflore (le-FLOR') County Sheriff Ricky Banks tells The Associated Press that a C-130 military transport crashed Monday about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Jackson.

The U.S. Marine Corps announced the tragedy on Twitter: "A USMC KC-130 mishap occurred the evening of July 10".

Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a Marine C-130 "experienced a mishap" Monday evening, echoing nearly the exact language of the tweet.

Chris Nissen, who shot video of the aftermath, said there were lots of small explosions after the initial crash.

The crash comes at a time of intense concern about the readiness and condition of the Corp's aviation fleet.

It's not yet clear what route the plane was flying. He wrote: "Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all".

The debris field is about five miles (8km) in radius, Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks told the Greenwood Commonwealth. Jones said firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze at the main crash site but withdrew after an explosion forced them back.

"Members of the military put their lives on the line every day, and this accident underscores the dangers and risks that they face", Neuhaus added.

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