The U.S. Marine Corps reported yesterday that a KC-130 tanker/transport aircraft attached to the Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron, crashed into a soybean field about 85 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, killing all 16 people aboard. The flight originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point with personnel from the Marine Forces Reserve headquartered in New Orleans supporting a mission to transport personnel and supplies to Naval Air Field El Centro California.
The reason the aircraft disappeared from an FAA controller’s radar screen while cruising at FL200 is unknown, although the Marines have initiated an investigation. The crew and passengers consisted of 15 Marine Corps and one Navy Corpsman.
Investigators on the scene said the debris field was nearly five miles in radius. Local responders reported an intense fire at the scene that drove them back during their extinguishing attempts. A Marine fact sheet said the aircraft is normally used is used for "air-to-air refueling, rapid ground refueling and logistic support," including transportation of troops or cargo.