An U.S. Marine refueling tanker from Tennessee crashed into a soybean field in rural Mississippi on Monday evening, killing many people aboard. Emergency crews were working at the site. Officials were still searching for bodies after nightfall, more than five hours after the KC-130 spiraled into the ground about 85 miles north of Jackson in Mississippi's Delta region.
Debris were found in a large area of miles. Some bodies were found across U.S. Highway 82, more than a mile from the crash site. "It's hard to find bodies in the dark," Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks said. Fires fed by jet fuel were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. An explosion which occurred forced firefighters to move back. Plumes of black smoke were visible for miles across the flat landscape. The fire continued after sunset.
The crashed plane
"It was one of the worst fires you can imagine," a witness in the area said. It’s not clear what produced the crash. At least 16 bodies were recovered from the crash site. It’s believed but unconfirmed that 16 people were on board. The Marine Corps says it operated the plane but has provided no information on where the flight originated or where it was going. Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a Marine KC-130 "experienced a mishap." Alan Hammons, an official with the Greenwood Airport, said the plane suffered a structural failure at 20,000 feet.