Late Monday afternoon, a military plane crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi, sparking a rescue and recovery mission that has now ended with the declaration of at least 16 people dead. The plane, a KC-130 (used as a refueling aircraft), crashed into a soybean field, according to LeFlore County Emergency Management Director Fred Randle. All of the deceased were on board the aircraft with no survivors present, and the crash left debris strewn across the field. It wasn’t immediately clear whether any civilians were aboard the plane or where the flight was headed when disaster struck.
The U.S. Marine Corps announced the tragedy on Twitter: “A USMC KC-130 mishap occurred the evening of July 10. Further information will be released as available.”
At this time, no known cause for the crash is apparent, but authorities have ruled out the possibility of a mid-air crash with another plane. The Greenwood Commonwealth paper has more about rescue workers’ difficulty in extinguishing the fire at the crash site:
Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks said he got the call on the crash around 4 p.m. He and a crew took the department’s aircraft crash truck to the scene, [where] it used about 4,000 gallons of foam in an unsuccessful attempt to put out the jet engine-fueled fire.”
“We were driven away by several high-intensity explosions,” Marcus Banks said. “We know we had some ammunition rounds to ignite.”
We’ll continue to update this story if and when additional details surface.