A US Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft carrying 16 servicemen crashed in western Mississippi on Monday afternoon, killing all aboard. Richard Spencer, the nominee for US Navy Secretary, reported to the United States Senate this morning that 15 Marines and 1 sailor were onboard the aircraft.
Federal Aviation Administration officials contacted the Marines when the aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar over Mississippi, officials said. The aircraft reportedly crashed around 85 miles north of Jackson, the capital and largest city in the state.
The flight reportedly departed from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, located in eastern North Carolina. USMC has not commented on the crew’s mission, the itinerary or destination, however, CNN reported that the aircraft stopped in Memphis, TN before continuing west.
USMC said in a news release that, “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.” The names of the servicemen aboard the aircraft have not been released.
The Lockheed KC-130 is a special variant of the Lockheed C-130 made for aerial refueling. Over 180 have been built since the aircraft started being built in 1962, but the newer variants operated by the US Marine Corps were built starting in 2004. A majority of these aircraft are used by the US Marine Corps and the Royal Canadian Air Force, however these aircraft are also in use by militaries across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
H/T: CNN, featured image by NBC.