BREAKING: First Victim ID Confirmed in Crash that Killed 16 People in Mississippi

Photo Credit: WCAX

UPDATE: 5:53 PM

ITTA BENA, Miss. — One of the victims has been confirmed in the plane crashed that killed 16 people in Mississippi.

Gunnery Sergeant Brendan Johnson, a Vermont native, died alongside 15 others when the C-130 went down in Mississippi yesterday.

His father, Kevin Johnson, says his son enlisted right after graduating from Johnson State College and was already thinking about retirement.

While the Department of Defense has not yet released the names, Mr. Johnson said the family was told today.

Gunnery Sergeant Brendan Johnson leaves behind a wife, a brother, and his parents.

 

UPDATE: 2:31 PM 

ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) — The plane that crashed into a soybean field in rural Mississippi, killed 16 people, seven of whom were based in Camp Lejeune.

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, Arizona. 

All seven of those service members were from the Camp Lejeune-based 2d Marine Raider Battalion.

The identities of the service members whose lives were lost are still being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

While the details of the crash are under investigation, the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command said they are providing all available resources and support to the family, friends, and teammates of those lost.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire MARSOC family at this time,” said the MARSOC chief of staff. “The incredible demands of this dangerous and demanding calling forge some of the tightest unit and family bonds found in the U.S. military. This loss impacts us all.”

Leflore County Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Randle told reporters at a briefing late Monday that 16 bodies had been recovered after the KC-130T spiraled into the ground about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Jackson in the Mississippi Delta. A witness said some bodies were found more than a mile from the crash site.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a KC-130T “experienced a mishap” Monday evening but provided no details. The KC-130T is used as a refueling tanker.

WNCT’s Elizabeth Tew spoke with U.S. Marine Forces Reserve Public Affairs and confirmed the plane made a stop at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, though it is not a Cherry Point aircraft.

USMC Captain John Roberts said the aircraft took off from Cherry Point after receiving fuel there. There were no Marines on board the aircraft from Cherry Point.

The Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve squadron were supporting a requirement to transport personnel and equipment from Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif.

The crew and passengers were made up of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman. Equipment on board included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is at the scene as a precaution in the interest of safety.

The identities of the personnel whose lives were lost in the accident were withheld to allow time for their loved ones to be notified appropriately. While the details of the incident are being investigated, the Marine Corps said its 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.

“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.”

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, said in a statement Tuesday morning that he and his wife were extending their deepest condolences to the families of the Marines killed, as well as to the Cherry Point station.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump offered condolences.

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

Andy Jones said he was working on his family’s catfish farm just before 4 p.m. when he heard a boom and looked up to see the plane corkscrewing 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 trees in the soybean field, and by the time he and other 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.

Jones said a man borrowed his cellphone to report to authorities that there were bodies across U.S. Highway 82, more than a mile from the crash site.

Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks told the Greenwood Commonwealth that debris from the plane was scattered in a radius of about 5 miles (8 kilometers).

Jones said firefighters tried to put out the fire at the main crash site but withdrew after an explosion forced them back. The fire produced towering plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat region and continued to burn after dusk, more than four hours after the crash.

Aerial pictures taken by WLBT-TV showed the skeleton of the plane burning strongly.

“It was one of the worst fires you can imagine,” Jones said. He said the fire was punctuated by the pops of small explosions.

No more smoke was rising Tuesday morning from the site. State patrol units blocked all farm roads on U.S. Highway 82 about 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from the wreckage to keep anyone who wasn’t law enforcement or a response unit out of the area.

Officials haven’t released information on what caused the crash.

 

UPDATE 10:57PM

At least 16 people are dead after a KC-130 refueling aircraft crashed in Mississippi.

 

UPDATE 9:35PM

At least eight people are killed after Marine Corps KC-130 refueling aircraft crashes in Mississippi soybean field when it suffered a devastating ‘structural failure’ at 20,000 feet.

Officials have recovered eight bodies from the wreckage and are still searching.

It’s been reported that the plane could have been carrying up to nine people

 

Update 8:04pm

ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) – Officials say a military transport plane has crashed in Mississippi’s Delta region, killing at least five people aboard. Leflore  County Sheriff Ricky Banks tells The Associated Press that a C-130 military transport crashed Monday about 85 miles north of Jackson.

Banks tells The Greenwood Commonwealth that at least five of the nine people supposed to be aboard have been confirmed dead. Officials did not have information on where the flight originated or what branch of the military it belongs to. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen is directing the comment to the military.

6:25pm

Leflore County, Mississippi (WKRG) — At least four people are dead in a military plane crash in Mississippi.

The plane was an Army C-130 that took off from the Memphis area Monday carrying eight people.

The CBS station in Memphis reports the plane crashed in a field near County Road 237 and Highway 82 in Leflore County.

Pictures from the scene show a large cloud of black smoke rising above the field.

 

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