US mil­i­tary plane crashes, 16 dead

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

All 16 troops aboard a Ma­rine Corps air re­fu­el­ing and trans­port air­craft were killed when the plane crashed in a field in ru­ral Mis­sis­sippi, of­fi­cials con­firmed yes­ter­day. Author­i­ties pro­vided few de­tails on what went wrong, or the na­ture of the Marines’ mis­sion. The KC-130, an air re­fu­el­ing air­craft that can also carry troops and cargo, took off from a Ma­rine Corps air base at Cherry Point, North Carolina on Mon­day and dis­ap­peared from radar over Mis­sis­sippi, crash­ing in the late af­ter­noon.

“A Ma­rine Corps KC-130 trans­port air­craft crashed in Le­Flore County, Mis­sis­sippi, on July 10 at ap­prox­i­mately 4:00 pm CDT (2100 GMT), claim­ing the lives of 16 ser­vice mem­bers,” the Ma­rine Corps said in a state­ment. The cause of the crash is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, in a tweet, said the news was “heart­break­ing.” “Me­la­nia and I send our deep­est con­do­lences to all!” he added. Mis­sis­sippi con­gress­man Steven Palazzo said on Twit­ter he was “dev­as­tated,” and of­fered prayers for the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims.

The plane crashed in a soy­bean field in a largely ru­ral area in the western part of the state. All the vic­tims were on the Ma­rine Corps air­craft and there were no sur­vivors, Le­flore County emer­gency management di­rec­tor Fred Ran­dle told CNN. Heli­copter footage taken by lo­cal news sta­tion Fox 40 showed a large gash in a green field, with fiercely burn­ing fires send­ing up plumes of black smoke. Fire­fight­ers sprayed the air­craft with huge lay­ers of foam to quell the blaze.

Ran­dle told NBC News that the scene was un­safe due to the pres­ence of fuel. The FBI was on hand, along with lo­cal and state emer­gency re­spon­ders and in­ves­ti­ga­tors, he said. Mis­sis­sippi Gover­nor Phil Bryant called for prayers for “those hurt­ing af­ter this tragedy.” “Our men and women in uni­form risk them­selves ev­ery day to se­cure our free­dom,” he said in a brief state­ment on Face­book. The names of the vic­tims were be­ing with­held pend­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion of their next of kin.

Ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing US mil­i­tary air­craft are not un­com­mon, but rarely do they claim so many lives. The crash of a twin-en­gine C-23 Sherpa in the south­ern state of Ge­or­gia in March 2001 claimed the lives of 21 peo­ple. In April 2000, 19 peo­ple were killed in the crash of a Ma­rine Corps MV-22 Osprey, a tilt-ro­tor air­craft that flies like a plane but can hover and land like a heli­copter. — AFP

MIS­SIS­SIPPI: In this frame from video, smoke and flames rise from a mil­i­tary plane that crashed in a farm field, in Itta Bena, Mis­sis­sippi, killing sev­eral. — AP

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