U.S. Marine KC-130 Crashes in Leflore, Mississippi with 16 Fatalities

Jul 11 2017 - 10 Comments
By Tom Demerly

Aircraft May Have Been Carrying Explosives, Witnesses Reported Midair Explosion.

The U.S. Marines and news outlets have reported the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules four-engine turboprop aerial tanker and tactical transport aircraft on Monday Jul. 10, 2017. The crash occurred in a rural area of Mississippi over farmland. Witnesses reported a “loud explosion” before the aircraft hit the ground. There are 16 fatalities according to reports.

“The debris field spanned a five-mile radius.” according to a report on The Clarion Ledger, and that, “4,000 gallons of foam were used to combat the blaze.”

A Lockheed KC-130J Hercules tactical transport and tanker aircraft. The C-130 family has a good safety record across all branches of the U.S. military.
(Official Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Tanner M. Iskra)

According to a report from local news station WNBD, a Mississippi airport official was quoted as saying, “The plane was being tracked by air traffic controllers in Memphis [Tennessee] and suffered structural failure at 20,000 feet that caused it to plunge into the field.”

Although the photos from the accident scene show the wings, fuselage and elevators of the aircraft still partially attached in the burning wreckage, eyewitness reports and accounts of local first responders suggest the aircraft “may have exploded in mid-air”. Some Investigators on the scene have described to media outlets that “debris was found on both sides of the of the highway” leading them to believe an explosion may have happened prior to the crash.

A Mississippi State Police Officer indicated the “aircraft is loaded with ammunition”. This may have prevented emergency crews from approaching the aircraft since unexploded ordnance could be detonated in a fire.

“There’s a lot of ammo in the plane. That’s why we are keeping so far back. We just don’t know what it’ll do. It burns a bit then goes out, burns a little more then dies down,” A State Police officer told local media outlet WMC Action News 5.

As with all aircraft accidents, the official cause of the accident will be determined following a formal investigation and issuance of an accident report. Until that report is published reports about the cause of the accident are speculative.

The KC-130 accident is somehow unusual since the Hercules family of multi-role aircraft has had a better than average safety record in both U.S. and international service compared to other military aircraft.

Only two fatal accidents have occurred in C-130s across all U.S. services since July 2012 when an Air Force C-130H crashed during forest fire fighting operations in South Dakota. Since then, only one other reported fatal accident has happened with the crash of a C-130J in Afghanistan in 2015 when a total of 14 people including ground personnel were killed.

The aircraft appeared largely intact in photos despite reports of a midair explosion from some witnesses.
(Photo: WLBT News.)

 

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  • Gatorski0827

    Thoughts and prayers with all these brave soldiers and their families…..RIP

    • John Wayne

      Thanks. Marines are referred to as Marines. Sailors are Navy. Airman are Airforce and Soldiers are ARMY.

  • lineguy

    “….only one other reported fatal accident has happened with the crash of a C-130J in Afghanistan in 2015 when a total of 14 people including ground personnel were killed.” Not totally true. The Norwegians also flew one of the four C-130J aircraft they bought from LM into a mountain some years ago.

    • Horn

      It said “across all U.S. services”. Your omitting the first half of the sentence with your quote, which is misleading and contains the relevant information.

    • USNVO

      Yes but the Norwegian Air Force is not part of .”…all U.S. services”.

    • John Wayne

      Here is better reference. Since a lot of robots are writing articles for a lot of these news sites they don’t like linking to Wikipedia which has a better compilation of information.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_incidents_involving_the_Lockheed_C-130_Hercules

    • That’s why he wrote “across all U.S. services”

  • Spencerhut

    This plane was from my old Marine unit. I’m really looking forward to the results of the investigation. I survived one “hard” i.e. crash landing and a couple of multi engine out landings with no harm and while the events were memorable, they were not life altering.
    Just really curious what would cause a KC-130 to blow up in mid air. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5df0ea6e3b65b7aa0a896d73901e4928f8ac51fbb34f1f5bce13623fe412914.jpg

  • Hassadnah Abraham

    Why the plane carry explosive? For whom? For what?