July 11, 2017 (by Asif Shamim) - A USMC KC-130T from VMGR-452 crashed in the state of Mississippi on Monday at approximately 16:00hrs CDT near the Sunflower-Leflore county line about 85 miles North of Jackson, claiming the lives of 16 service members.
The flight originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. and was heading to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif. Federal Aviation Administration officials contacted the Marine Corps when the aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar over Mississippi.
Local emergency services for LeFlore County, said 16 bodies have been recovered from the crash site.
An initial statement from the Marines via there twitter account said that a “KC-130 experienced a mishap the evening of July 10.” Since then more detail has releasd. The crew and passengers consisted of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman. Equipment on board included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons.
Fire Chief Marcus Banks from Greenwood said witnesses described the plane as disintegrating in the air as it neared the ground. The chief estimated that the debris field was about three to five miles in diameter.
Aother local resident interviewed said he heard a boom and saw a the aircraft corkscrewing downward with one engine smoking.
"You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around," he said. "It was spinning down."
The plane hit the ground behind some trees in a soybean field, and by the time he and others reached the crash site, fires were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. The force of the crash nearly flattened the plane.
Firefighters tried to put out the fire at the main crash site but withdrew after an explosion forced them back. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is now at the scene as a precaution in the interest of safety.
The crash investigation is ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available.