In Itta Bena, a US military refueling plane crashed into a soybean field in rural land Mississippi. The crash killed at least 16 people who were aboard the aircraft. Officials said that the wreck spread debris for miles.
Frank Randle, Leflore County Emergency Management Agency Director, told press that 16 bodies were recovered from the KC-130. The aircraft spiraled into the ground at 85 miles per hour, just north of Jackson in the Mississippi Delta. According to a witness, some of the bodies were found more than a mile away from the crash site.
The KC-130, which is used a refueling tanker, had “experienced a mishap” said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns.
On Tuesday morning President Trump offered his condolences via a tweet.
“Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!” Trump wrote.
One of the nearby witnesses, Andy Jones said he was working on his family’s catfish farm when he heard a large explosion and saw the plane falling downward in a corkscrew motion, while one of the engines had smoke flying out.
“You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around,” he said. “It was spinning down.”
Jones explained that the plane crashed behind some trees in the soybean field. He said that by the time he and others made it to the crash site to help, the heat was already too intense to approach.
“Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn’t much sticking out above the beans,” he said.
After calling authorities, Jones and firefighters, tried to fight the fire until another explosion forced them to stay back. “It was one of the worst fires you can imagine,” Jones said. He said the fire was punctuated by the pops of small explosions.
There are still no official statements or reports on the cause of the crash and the subsequent deaths.