Military Plane Crash Kills At Least 16 In Mississippi
A Marine Corps refueling tanker crashed Monday afternoon in a field 85 miles north of Jackson, Miss., killing at least 16 people.
LeFlore County Emergency Management Director Fred Randle told the Associated Press that 16 bodies had been recovered from the crash site in a soy bean field in Itta Bena, Miss. Sherrif Ricky Banks told the AP the search is continuing in a debris field that stretches for miles.
The Marine Corps confirmed in a tweet that a KC-130 was involved in "a mishap," but had no further details.
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
Witness Andy Jones told the AP he saw the plane spiral into the ground.
"Jones said he was working on his family's catfish farm just before 4 p.m. when he heard a boom and looked up to see the plane corkscrewing downward with one engine smoking.
" 'You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around,' he said. 'It was spinning down.'
"Jones said the plane hit the ground behind some trees in a soybean field, and by the time he and other reached the crash site, fires were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. The force of the crash nearly flattened the plane, Jones said.
" 'Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn't much sticking out above the beans,' he said."
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant posted a message of sympathy on his Facebook page, saying, "Please join Deborah and me in praying for those hurting after this tragedy."
The New York Times reports that the FBI is sending employees to to assist with the investigation, although authorities do not suspect foul play.
The KC-130J Hercules aircraft is used for "air-to-air refueling, rapid ground refueling and logistic support," including transportation of troops or cargo, according to a Navy fact sheet.