Update: 2:20 p.m. July 11, 2017:
A Marine Corps KC-130 transport aircraft crashed in LeFlore County, Miss., on July 10 at approximately 4 p.m. CDT, with 16 service members missing and presumed deceased. The aircraft was transporting six Marines and one Navy sailor from Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command and their associated equipment for routine small unit pre-deployment training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. All seven were from the Camp
Lejeune-based 2d Marine Raider Battalion.
Update: 12:55pm July 11, 2017:
AUDIO: PHONE INTERVIEW WITH MAJOR ARANDA OF MARINE RESERVES
Major Andrew Aranda, public information officer for the Marine Reserves confirmed to News Mississippi that the operation in which these service members were involved originated in New York, and made a stop in North Carolina before crashing in LeFlore County.
The names of the 16 service members killed in this crash have still not been released.
“We’re withholding those names while the next of kin is notified, and allow them the time to utilize resources made to them,” said Aranda.
The surrounding area of the crash is safe for those living in the area, but Aranda said they’re watching the scene carefully and discouraging people not related to the investigation from approaching the site.
“There was ammunition on board, though I’m not sure what type,” said Aranda. “An Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team is on scene.”
News Mississippi will provide more details as they emerge.
Update: 11:00 a.m. July 11, 2017:
The Marine aircraft that crashed Monday morning consisted of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman. The equipment on board included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons. An Explosive Ordinance Disposal team is currently on the scene as an added measure of safety.
The identities of those who died have not been released so that loved ones can be notified.
“On behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve, I extend my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who perished in last night’s tragedy,” said Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, commander of Marine Forces Reserve. “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.”
Update: 6:30 a.m. July 11, 2017
News Mississippi has received information from the United States Marine Forces Reserve regarding the tragic Monday afternoon aircraft crash that killed 16 service members in the Delta. The KC-130 is typically used as a refueling tanker and can easily be outfitted as a transport or weapons platform.
The investigation has been taken over by the United States Marine Corps and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2017
Statement on the tragic C-130 crash in Leflore County:
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) July 10, 2017
Lisa and I are devastated to learn of the tragic plane crash in Leflore County. We are praying for the families…. https://t.co/i7yyEG1adX
— Philip Gunn (@PhilipGunnMS) July 11, 2017
From the USMC Reserve press release:
A Marine Corps KC-130 transport aircraft crashed in LeFlore County, Miss., on July 10 at approximately 4 p.m. CDT, claiming the lives of 16 service members.
(Correction: the flight did not originate from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., but was on that leg of it’s trip. Confirmation has not been given on it origin.)
Federal Aviation Administration officials contacted the Marine Corps when the aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar over Mississippi.
The cause of the crash is unknown at this time; the incident is under investigation.
The identities of the service members whose lives were lost in this tragic accident are being withheld to allow time for their loved ones to be notified. While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time.
More information will be released as it becomes available.
5:00 p.m. July 10, 2017:
News Mississippi has received reports of a military plane crash in Greenwood.
“I can see smoke on the horizon,” said Cecil Womble, air traffic controller with the Greenwood Leflore Airport.
The plane is confirmed as being a Marine C 130.
“The last time that they talked to the aircraft he was at flight level two zero zero, 20,000 feet high and they lost contact with him,” said Womble. “The next time they heard from him he had crashed.”
The aircraft had eight marines on board and there are fatalities being reported.