16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi

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A military transport plane crashed in Mississippi on Monday, killing at least 16 service members, the Marine Forces Reserve has confirmed.

The Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi — about 85 miles north of Jackson — around 4 p.m. local time, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

The flight took off from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, the Marine Forces Reserve said in a statement.

The plane vanished from air traffic control radar somewhere over Mississippi, the statement continued.

The Marine Forces Reserve said that the cause of the crash is still unknown and is under investigation. It is withholding the names of the deceased until loved ones are notified.

PHOTO: Smoke and flames rise from a military plane that crashed in a farm field, in Itta Bena, Miss., killing several.
Smoke and flames rise from a military plane that crashed in a farm field, in Itta Bena, Miss., killing several.

"While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time," the statement said. "More information will be released as it becomes available."
Witnesses described hearing a loud crackling noise around the time of the plane crash.
Andy Jones, a local farmer, told The Associated Press late Monday that he heard a boom and saw the aircraft "spinning down."
At a press conference late Monday, Leflore County Emergency Management Director Fred Randle offered no explanation for the crash and stressed that the situation is under investigation.

The FBI was at the press conference, and Randle said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will address the public about the crash on Tuesday.

The Marine Corps, which said it operated the plane, announced the crash via Twitter around 8:30 p.m. ET.

"A USMC KC-130 experienced a mishap the evening of July 10," Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said later in a statement. "Further information will be passed as available."

President Donald Trump tweeted about the crash, writing, "Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

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