Sixteen service members were killed when their U.S. military plane crashed in Mississippi on Monday. Most of the bodies have been recovered, a local official said.


The FBI is investigating the deaths of 15 Marines and one sailor who were killed when their U.S. military plane spiraled out of the sky and crashed into a field.

A KC-130, used as a refueling tanker, “experienced a mishap” when it corkscrewed into a soybean field about 4 p.m. Monday at a location around 85 miles north of Jackson, the Marine Corps said. The aircraft’s debris scattered in a radius of nearly 5 miles.

President Trump’s nominee for Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, told lawmakers on Tuesday 15 Marines and a sailor were aboard the aircraft and killed in the crash. Their bodies were recovered late Monday, Leflore County Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Randle told reporters. A witness said some bodies were found more than a mile from the crash, Fox News reported.

President Trump and Vice President Pence offered their condolences to those who perished.


“Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

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Pence wrote on Twitter: “Karen & I are praying for the families of the Marines who lost their lives. These Marines will be in our hearts.”

The Marine Corps released a statement Tuesday that said the “cause of the crash is unknown at this time” and that “the incident is under investigation.”

The statement continued: “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.”

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant also asked for prayers for the crash victims and their loved ones in a brief statement. “Our men and women in uniform risk themselves every day to secure our freedom,” he said.

Meanwhile, a message posted on the National Guard Twitter account Tuesday read: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those lost in the July 10 @USMC KC-130 plane crash in Leflore County.”

Alan Hammons, an official at Greenwood Airport, told WNCN that the aircraft suffered a “structural failure” at 20,000 feet. The Clarion Ledger reported that the plane departed from Naval Support Activity Mid-South Base in Millington, Tenn.

An intense fire, fed by jet fuel, hampered firefighters, causing them to turn to unmanned devices in an attempt to control the flames, authorities said. There were several high-intensity explosions.

Aerial pictures taken by WLBT-TV showed the skeleton of the plane burning, producing plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat landscape of the delta.

Andy Jones, who works on his family’s catfish farm nearby, said he heard a boom and looked up to see the plane “spinning” downward with one engine smoking.

“You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around,” he said. “It was spinning down.”

Jones said the plane hit the ground behind some trees in the soybean field, and by the time he and others reached the crash site, fires were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. The force of the crash nearly flattened the plane, Jones said.

“Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn’t much sticking out above the beans,” he said. “It was one of the worst fires you can imagine.”

Jones added the fire was punctuated by the pops of small explosions.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of our fallen heroes. Rest in peace.

God Bless.

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