Reporting by Jonathan Serrie
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the firey crash of a Marine Corps KC-130T plane late Monday afternoon.
The plane, used for mid-flight refueling operations and delivering troops, cargo and supplies, was part of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron stationed at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York. It had taken off from the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC Monday and was carrying equipment and personnel to a Naval Air facility El Centro in California.
The plane disappeared from radar while over Mississippi, crashing in a soybean field near Greenwood.
There were no reports of injuries on the ground, but the Marines confirm all 16 service members on board the aircraft died in the crash. They include 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman.
"Every resource we can pull from will be used to determine what happened," Major Andrew Aranda told reporters a couple miles from the crash site.
This morning, President Donald Trump tweeted: “marine plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!”
The commander of the Marine Forces Reserve offered his sympathies to the victim’s loved ones.
In a statement, Lt. General Rex McMillian said, “The Marines and sailor involved in this incident were among our finest. They dedicated their lives to our core values of honor, courage, and commitment. They will never be forgotten.”
The Marines are withholding the names of the service members who died in the crash until they finish notifying their families.