Fifteen Marines, one Navy Corpsman killed in Mississippi plane c - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Fifteen Marines, one Navy Corpsman killed in Mississippi plane crash

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LEFLORE COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the crash of a KC-130T in LeFlore County, Mississippi is the deadliest Marine Corps aviation mishap since 2005.

Sixteen people were killed, including 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman.

According to a Marine Corps spokesperson, the marine aircraft was a KC-130T from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve based in New York. The flight originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., as the squadron was taking personnel and equipment from there to Naval Air Field El Centro, California.

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.

It's not clear yet where the other marines were based.

"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."   

According to Naval Air Systems, this plane is one of only 26 in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy inventory. 

The aircraft crashed in Leflore County just off Highway 82 on Monday evening and according to Leflore Co. EOC, had structural failure at 20,000 feet.

The plane is believed to have exploded in mid-air. Investigators said they found debris on both sides of the highway, leading them to believe an explosion happened prior to the crash.

RELATED: Spokesperson: Military mishaps low among KC-130, other aircraft

Equipment on board the plane included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons. An Explosive Ordinance Disposal team was called out to the scene as a precaution.

The identities of the victims are not being released yet to allow time for loved ones to be notified appropriately.

The Marine Corps said that while they are still investigating the details of the crash, their primary focus is to provide the necessary support and resources to friends, family, and service members who are going through this difficult time.

President Donald Trump released a statement on Twitter after the crash:

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant released a statement on his Facebook page saying: 

Please join Deborah and me in praying for those hurting after this tragedy. Our men and women in uniform risk themselves every day to secure our freedom.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC):

"Susan and I send our deepest condolences to the families of the Marines who lost their lives in service to our nation. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the Havelock community are in our thoughts and prayers. This is a tragic reminder of the dangers our servicemembers are confronted with on a daily basis, including the training missions that are needed to help keep our nation safe at home and abroad."

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09):

“I am saddened by the terrible plane crash this evening in Mississippi that took the lives of 

Mississippi House Speaker Phillip Gunn:

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann:

This is a developing story. We will update this as more information becomes available.  

Copyright 2017 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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