Nine dead after US military plane crashes near Savannah airport
An aging US military cargo plane carrying nine troops was destroyed in a fiery crash as it made its final scheduled flight before being mothballed, officials said. The C-130 "Hercules" cargo plane from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard crashed yesterday around 9 pm IST near the Savannah airport. Footage of the crash showed it falling from the sky then exploding in a fireball.
Puerto Rico National Guard spokesman Major Paul Dahlen said, "We've confirmed nine people, consisting of five crew members and four additional passengers" were on board. Reportedly, other four were also members of the military. Dahlen could not immediately confirm all nine had died, but said images of the crash spoke for themselves. US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the families of victims.
Dahlen said the plane was probably more than 50 years old and was headed to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance Regeneration Group at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, also known as a boneyard for old planes. The C-130 had been in Georgia for planned maintenance and was thought to have been in good mechanical condition, he added. An investigation into the incident is underway.
The US military has been rocked by a string of aviation accidents in recent weeks, including an F-16 crash near Las Vegas last month that killed the pilot. Just a day earlier, four crew members died when a Marine Corps helicopter crashed while on a routine training mission in Southern California. And in Djibouti, two incidents triggered the grounding of US military flights.
According to the Military Times, accidents involving the military's manned aircraft rose nearly 40% from FY2013 to 2017. It found the rise coincided with budget cuts from 2013, which impacted training and readiness, as well as heavy wear and tear on aircraft from back-to-back deployments.