The FAA reports that just before 11:30 a.m this afternoon, shortly after takeoff from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia, a WC-130 military cargo plane crashed and burst into flames.
The Chatham Emergency Management Agency stated this afternoon that the plane crashed at the intersection of Highway 21 and Crossgate Road.The Georgia Air National Guard said all five people aboard were killed in the crash. Capt. Jeff Bezore, of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Air Wing, said he couldn’t say how many people in total were on the plane at the time of this report.
However; the Coroner for Chatham County, Georgia, Bill Wessinger, stated that officials have not yet discovered any more than two bodies in the wreckage of the WC-130 Hercules cargo plane crash in Port Wentworth.“We have not found more than two bodies. We’re going back to look,” he is reported to have said.
Major Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the Air Force said in a press release this afternoon, “While performing a training mission, a United States C-130 ‘Hercules” cargo plane from Puerto Rico National Guard crashed at about 11:30 am today.” The Air Force’s spokesman also stated that “The names [Of the deceased] will be released upon notification of next-of-kin.”
Typically a C-130 carries a compliment of 5 crewmembers but according to Major Dahlen, the plane was carrying onboard 4 additional military personnel and maintenance crewmen when it failed and went down.
“While performing a training mission, a United States C-130 ‘Hercules’ cargo plane from Puerto Rico Air National Guard crashed at about 11:30 a.m. today,“ the Air Force said in a statement. “The names will be released upon notification of next-of-kin.”
Maj. Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, said the WC-130 had five crew members and four additional military personnel, including maintainers, on board when it went down.
The military plane which was assigned to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard was bound for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona on a routine training mission when suddenly it went down.
A cloud of thick, black smoke could be seen for miles billowing up into the sky from a section of the plane that lay smashed into the median of the road. The tail section of the aircraft was the only part of it that was left intact. Firefighters have since put out the fires which started as a result of the accident.
Candace Carpenter, a spokeswoman for the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, said that the crash did not occur at the airport and that. “Emergency crews are responding to the military plane crash.”
A photograph which was posted to Twitter by the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association’s account there shows a scene of black smoke, bright red flames, surrounding the wreckage and the tail section. An ambulance stands idly nearby; alone and unused.
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport officials said on social media that although the crash happened off the airport’s property, some flights were affected, Passengers have been advised by officials to check with their airline for updates on changes to flight schedule information.
Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Roselio said that the plane was on a routine training mission to Arizona when the incident occured. Mientras estamos a la espera de mayor información con relación a este lamentable accidente, mis pensamientos y los de Beatriz están con las familias de los tripulantes. Recibirán nuestro apoyo y el de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico en este proceso.
(Translated from Spanish by Microsoft.) While we are waiting for more information regarding this unfortunate accident, my thoughts and those of Beatrice are with the families of the crew. You will receive our support and that of the National Guard of Puerto Rico in this process.
He also tweeted:
Tanto @BeatrizRossello como yo estamos consternados con el accidente aéreo ocurrido hoy en Georgia. Nuestras oraciones con las familias de los puertorriqueños tripulantes.Translated from Spanish by Microsoft@BeatrizRossello as much as I am dismayed by the plane crash that took place today in Georgia. Our prayers with the families of the Puerto Rican crew.
Senior Master Sargeant, Roger Parsons, a spokesperson for the Georgia Air National Guard, stated to reporters that authorities from the FAA do not know yet what caused the plane to crash shortly after taking off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Authorities are still working to make the crash site safe for FAA investigators to get in and examine the wreckage to begin determining the cause.
Effingham County Sheriff spokeswomen Gena Bilbo says the intersection of Ga. 21 and Crossgate Road could be closed for weeks as the FAA along with other federal and state agencies document the wreck site.
Mark Jones told Savannah Morning News that he was close to Highway 21 when he noticed a plane that was what he thought to be flying dangerously low.
“I could see [the plane] above the tree line and it looked kind of low like it was curving in toward street, but I see them all the time, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Jones stated to Savannah Morning News. “I looked down and then looked back up and it didn’t look like it nosedived, but it almost looked like it stalled and just went almost flat right there in the middle of the highway.”
Gina Bilbo, a spokesperson for the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, said at a news conference earlier this afternoon that “as far as we know there were no cars hit in this crash. It is an absolute miracle.”
President Trump tweeted:
Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump I have been briefed on the U.S. C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane from the Puerto Rico National Guard that crashed near Savannah Hilton Head International Airport. Please join me in thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the great men and women of the National Guard.1:27 PM – May 2, 2018 14K 5,132 people are talking about this
The plane that went down is a WC-130. A weather reconnaissance aircraft that is used by the Air Force and Air National Guard. These planes typically have a crew of five people onboard, according to the U.S. Air Force. Initially, the FAA mistakenly identified the plane as a C-130 Hercules. Fox News’ Katherine Lam, Shira Bush, Lucas Tomlinson and Nicole Darrah, The Associated Press, CNN, station WLKY, and Savannah Morning News contributed to this report.