MISSISSIPPI – According to Fox News, the FBI continues to investigate the deaths of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were killed when their U.S. military plane spiraled out of the sky and into a Mississippi field Monday, July 10, 2017.
A KC-130, used as a refueling tanker, “experienced a mishap” when it corkscrewed into a soybean field about 4 p.m. Monday, at a location around 85 miles north of Jackson, the report said. The aircraft’s debris scattered in a radius of nearly five miles.
The Marine Corps said the plane originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. and it was traveling to NAF El Centro, CA.
Kristopher Haugh, Public Affairs Officer at NAF El Centro, U.S. Navy, offered his condolences on behalf of NAF El Centro. “Our thought and prayers go out to the families, friends and ship mates of the 15 marines and one sailor who died yesterday in the tragic KC 130 crash in Mississippi. The aircraft was traveling to NAF El Centro for normal training. We ask our local community to join us in a moment of silence for these brave service members,” Haugh said in a statement.
The Marine Corps said in a statement to local news on Tuesday that 15 Marines and a Navy Corpsman were aboard the aircraft and killed in the crash. Their bodies were recovered late Monday, Leflore County Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Randle told reporters. A witness said some bodies were found more than a mile from the crash. The identities of the people killed have not been released.
Equipment that included “various arms ammunition and personal weapons” were also on the aircraft.
Alan Hammons, an official at Greenwood Airport, told WNCN that the aircraft suffered a “structural failure” at 20,000 feet. The Clarion Ledger reported that the plane departed from Naval Support Activity Mid-South Base in Millington, TN.
An intense fire, fed by jet fuel, hampered firefighters, causing them to turn to unmanned devices in an attempt to control the flames, authorities said in the report. There were several high-intensity explosions.