This evening, the US Marine Corps confirmed that “a USMC KC-130 mishap occurred the evening of July 10. Further information will be released as available.” A spokesperson said that there were at least 16 people missing following the crash and all are presumed dead. The plane crashed along Mississippi’s Sunflower-LeFlore County line, according to LeFlore County EMA Director Fred Randal.
A state trooper told WMC the aircraft was loaded with explosives, and that was causing some delay in recovery efforts, because of safety concerns for the emergency responders at the scene. Investigators at the scene told WMC that the debris pattern definitely indicated the plane exploded in midair. But that the details of the cause of the KC-130’s crash were still being investigated.
LeFlore County Sheriff Ricky Banks told the Associated Press they have located the bodies of 12 of the crew members and are still seachering for others across a large debris field. Deputy, Will Gnemi, told reporters that the coroner’s office was at the scene searching a field of tall vegetation for victims. At the time, he didn’t know how many casualties there would be.
The debris field of the downed plane was said to be in excess of 10 miles in diameter according to the fire chief of Greenwood, Marcus Banks. The Chief said that the first call about the crash came in at around 4:00pm and that an aircraft crash truck was enroute to the scene. He also noted that some 4,000 gallons of foam were used to put the fire out. Banks also described several “high-intensity explosions” that drove away firefighters.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has asked for prayers in a Facebook post, and said that “our men and women in uniform risk themselves every day to secure our freedom.”
The KC-130, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is a four-engine, turboprop, general purpose aircraft, mostly used for military transportation, according to the company’s website.