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C-130 crashes near Savannah International Airport

May 2, 2018 (by Jon Somerville) - The aircraft (Indentified as #65-0968) from the 156th Airlift Wing, Puerto Rico Air Guard was on its retirement flight to AMARG, Arizona, when it crashed onto a roadway after departing Hilton Head Airport in Savannah, Georgia.

Aircraft has been identified as C-130 65-0968.

The C-130 which had been in Savannah for about a month for maintenance crashed around 11:30am near Highway 21 just east of Airport, according to Chatham County Emergency Management Agency.

"Nine crew members died in the accident, but until their families and relatives are notified, we cannot give their names," said Brigadier General Isabelo Rivera, the assistant general of Puerto Rico.

The investigation, which is underway, is being carried out by the Air Force, he said. The National Transportation Safety Board will not be involved, according to a statement from the Chatham County Board of Commissioners.

Rivera signaled concern about the age and condition of the unit’s fleet.

“It’s well known that the airplanes of Puerto Rico’s 156th Wing are among the oldest in the inventory of the nation, and they’re airplanes that are more than 60 years old,” the general said. Adding that the plane would not have been cleared to fly on Wednesday if it had not been deemed airworthy.

State Highway 21 will remain closed indefinitely as investigators examine the crash site and debris field, according to Chatham County.

Further updates will be added as and when reported

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USAF C-130H #65-0968 from 105 AS is seen landing at Nellis AFB on July 17, 2012. [Photo by Bruce Smith]