Jackson: A military transport plane crashed in southern US state of Mississippi’s Delta region on Monday, killing at least 16 people on board, officials said.
“A KC-130 military refueling tanker crashed about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of state capital Jackson”, Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks told the Reuters.
Banks said that a helicopter was searching for others in the dark around the crash site in a soybean field on Monday, more than five hours after the KC-130 refueling tanker spiraled to the ground into a soybean field.
The crash was reported about 4 p.m. local time and debris from the plane was scattered in a radius of about 5 miles (8 kilometers). An intense fire fed by jet fuel hampered firefighters, Banks said, causing them to turn to unmanned devices in an attempt to control the flames.
“We were driven away by several high-intensity explosions,” he said. Aerial pictures taken by a local showed the skeleton of the plane burning strongly, producing plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat landscape of the delta.
Austin Jones, who owns a neighboring farm, said the fire continued after sunset.”It’s burning worse now than it was early in the afternoon,” said Jones. He said his son watched the plane go down while working on the farm and said it was smoking as it descended.
The incident was a “tragedy”, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement on social media site Facebook, but provided no details. The Marine Corps said it operated the plane but had provided no information on where the flight originated or where it was going.