A Marine Corps transport plane crashed in a field in rural northwest Mississippi around 4 p.m. Monday, killing all 16 people aboard, authorities said.
The cause of the crash remains unclear, but Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks told The New York Times that witnesses described seeing the KC-130 aircraft break apart before crashing in a large agricultural field near the Leflore County line north of Jackson, Miss.
— WLBT 3 On Your Side (@WLBT) July 11, 2017
The Marines, who traditionally use the KC-130 for aerial refueling, have not provided any information regarding where the plane was coming from or what may have led to the accident. However, they did post a brief message to a USMC Twitter account confirming an incident had taken place.
A USMC KC-130 mishap occurred the evening of July 10. Further information will be released as available. pic.twitter.com/QEFhooJZmC
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) July 11, 2017
Banks said he believes the cockpit and fuselage had fallen about a mile after breaking off of the plane’s wings, creating a roughly three-mile debris field. He said the fire department used 9,000 gallons of foam to extinguish the resulting blaze.
Local catfish farmer Andy Jones described the scene as “one of the worst fires you can imagine.”
“You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around,” Jones told the Associated Press. “It was spinning down.”
Secretary of the Interior, and Navy Seal, Ryan Zinke offered his condolences over Twitter.
Please join me in praying for or sending good thoughts to the families and unit of the Marines we lost tonight in the C 130 crash #SemperFi
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) July 11, 2017
He was joined by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
So sorry to learn of 16 Marines losing their lives while serving our nation.My heart goes out to their families,friends and fellow Soldiers. https://t.co/pXE2mFsMiM
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 11, 2017
Deeply saddened by the loss of life in today’s @USMC KC-130 crash in the Mississippi Delta. Our thoughts & prayers are w/everyone involved.
— Senator Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran) July 11, 2017
The FBI has confirmed they have sent agents to the scene to aid in the investigation, but they do not currently believe the crash was the result of foul play.
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