A military refueling aircraft crashed yesterday afternoon in a soybean field in Leflore County, killing at least 16 U.S. Marines, Leflore County EMA Director Frank Randle said.
He could not confirm whether there were any civilians on the plane.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Lt. Kristine Rascicot confirmed that the plane that crashed was a USMC KC-130, but said she was not able to release any more details.
Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a Marine C-130 “experienced a mishap” Monday evening.
A KC-130 aircraft is an extended-range tanker version of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules that has been modified for aerial refueling.The C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop aircraft used primarily for military transportation. It’s known as a workhorse used in refueling, humanitarian missions, firefighting, search and rescue, and combat missions, according to the Lockheed Martin website.
It wasn’t clear Monday evening where the flight originated or where it was headed.
Leflore County deputy coroner Will Gnemi confirmed that his office was called to the accident scene. He said investigators were looking for other victims at the rural crash site, searching in a soybean field with tall vegetation.
Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks told the Greenwood Commonwealth’s Tim Kalich that the debris field was about five miles in radius and the call came in around 4 p.m. An aircraft crash truck rushed to the scene, and 4,000 gallons of foam were used in an effort to put out the fire, he said.
“Please join Deborah and me in praying for those hurting after this tragedy,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement on Facebook. “Our men and women in uniform risk themselves every day to secure our freedom.”