16 service men are now dead after a structural failure at 20,000 feet cause a U.S. Marine Corps. KC-130 airplane to explode and sent spiraling to the ground; crashing into a soybean field in Mississippi.
According to emergency responders 16 bodies were recovered after the plane spiraled into the ground, leaving 5 miles of debris.
A witness said some bodies were found more than a mile from the crash site.
The KC-130T, from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, was transporting personnel and equipment from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, to Naval Air Field El Centro, California.
A Marine spokesman told the DailyMail.com, the aircraft was also carrying various small arms ammunition and personal weapons.
President Trump responded to the tragedy, ‘Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking’ as he sent his and Melania’s ‘deepest condolences to all’.
Melania also posted a tweet: ‘My deepest sympathy to all of the military families who lost their loved ones in the Mississippi plane crash. Thoughts & prayers for all.’
Alan Hammons, an official with the nearby Greenwood Airport, told CBS affiliate WNBD-D1 the plane was being tracked by air traffic controllers in Memphis and suffered a structural failure at 20,000 feet around 4pm.
Initial findings suggest that the plane suddenly exploded mid-air. Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a KC-130 ‘experienced a mishap’ Monday evening but provided no details.
The crew and passengers, which consisted of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman, were all killed.
Debris was discovered on both sides of Highway 82, which means an explosion probably happened before the crash.
As a precaution — in the interest of safety — an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team has been called on scene.
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.’
Investigators are currently searching for clues as to why the aircraft dropped 20,000ft out of the sky.
What do you think they will find?
Give us your thoughts below, and keep the families of these fallen servicemen in your prayers.