Sixteen killed in US military plane crash
ITTA BENA, Mississippi — A US military plane used for refueling crashed into a field in rural Mississippi, killing at least 16 people aboard and spreading debris for kilometers and creating a fiery wreckage, officials said.
Leflore County Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Randle said on Monday that 16 bodies had been recovered after the KC-130 spiraled into the ground 135 km north of Jackson in the Mississippi Delta.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Sarah Burns said in a statement that a KC-130 “experienced a mishap” on Monday evening but provided no details. KC-130s are tanker planes designed to provide aerial refueling. It was not immediately known where the aircraft had taken off from or where it was going.
Andy Jones said he was working on his family’s catfish farm just before 4 pm 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.
“Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn’t much sticking out above the beans,” he said.
Jones said a man borrowed his cellphone to report to authorities that there were bodies across US Highway 82.
Greenwood Fire Chief Mar- cus Banks told the Greenwood Commonwealth that debris from the plane was scattered in a radius of about 8 km.
Jones said firefighters tried to put out the fire at the main crash site but withdrew after an explosion forced them back. The fire produced towering plumes of black smoke visible for several kilometers across the flat region and continued to burn after dusk, more than four hours after the crash.
Aerial pictures taken by WLBT-TV showed the skeleton of the plane burning strongly.
“It was one of the worst fires you can imagine,” Jones said. He said the fire was punctuated by the pops of small explosions.
Officials did not release information on what caused the crash or where the flight originated.
A KC-130 Hercules conducts air refueling training over the Pacific Ocean.