A military aircraft, carrying fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor, crashed on Monday, July 10, killing all aboard. The refueling tanker crashed 85 miles north of Jackson, Miss., in a bean field. Six of those who died were Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, as well as the Marines they served alongside. Danger and sacrifice are inherent to the jobs carried out by our service members, and this tragedy is a reminder that they serve at home and abroad every minute of every day,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
The cause of the crash is still unknown and the identities of those killed are still not being released until all the families have been notified.
Witness Andy Jones described the crash to AP News:
“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.’
“Jones said the plane hit the ground behind some trees in a soybean field, and by the time he and others reached the crash site, fires were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. The force of the crash nearly flattened the plane, Jones said.
” ‘Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn’t much sticking out above the beans,’ he said.”
The NYT reported the FBI will be sending help for the investigation, and that foul play is not suspected.