United State July 11 (TNS): A US military plane crashed into a field in Mississippi and exploded, killing all 16 people on board.
The plane was described as “twirling around” before it plummeted into a soybean field in rural Leflore County, 85 miles (135km) north of Jackson in the Mississippi Delta at 4pm (9pm GMT) on Monday.
Bodies were reported to have fallen on Highway 82, more than a mile from the crash site, and debris found up to five miles (8km) away.
Local catfish farmer Andy Jones described the force of the crash as “nearly flattening the plane”, which he said could barely be seen above the waist-high bean crop.
Witnesses were unable to approach the wreckage due to the intensity of the fire.
Firefighters sprayed the aircraft with layers of foam to put out the flames, until an explosion forced them back from the area.
The fire chief described the blaze – which he said was “punctuated by the pops of small explosions” – as “one of the worst fires you can imagine”.
Large plumes of smoke were visible for miles across the region, with the fire continuing to burn for more than four hours after the crash.
A Marine Corps spokeswoman said the KC-130 Hercules transport aircraft – which was used as a refuelling tanker – had “experienced a mishap”.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant called the crash a “tragedy”, paying tribute to “Our men and women in uniform [who] risk themselves every day to secure our freedom”.
The cause of the crash is not yet known. Courtesy Sky News .