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Nine Killed In C-130 Crash

Nine Killed In C-130 Crash

Investigators in Georgia are trying to figure out what caused a Puerto Rico Air National Guard plane to crash, killing all nine members on board. The huge transport plane, with its 0968 serial number on the nose, was displayed behind the group.

The crash happened near the Savannah airport.

All nine crew members had helped with hurricane recovery efforts as part of the 198th Fighter Squadron, nicknamed the Bucaneros, which flies out of Base Muniz in the northern coastal city of Carolina, according to the Guard's Adjutant General Isabelo Rivera.

The investigation is being carried out by the National Guard Bureau and the Air Force, Rivera said.

Last year, the squadron used the plane to rescue Americans from the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma, and later supplied food and water to Puerto Ricans after the devastation from Hurricane Maria.

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The U.S. territory's Gov. Ricardo Rossello expressed his sadness, tweeting that "our prayers are with the families of the Puerto Rican crew".

President Donald Trump tweeted that he had been briefed on the crash, and sent "thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the great men and women of the National Guard". Witnesses said as the plane crashed near a road, cars may have been crushed by the plane. The Savannah Professional Firefighters Association said there was a significant post-crash fire, causing road closures that are expected to last for several weeks.

Adjutant General Isabelo Rivera says the aging C-130 Hercules had been used to rescue and resupply US citizens after last year's hurricanes, among many other missions.

Maj. Paul Dahlen, a Puerto Rico Air National Guard spokesman, said the WC-130 had been used for weather reconnaissance missions and was more than 50 years old. First, he heard a "loud, unusual noise", he said.

Barnes says the crash was hundreds of yards (meters) from her but flames were so intense "you could feel a little bit of heat coming off of it".

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"Had this gone down a couple hundred feet north or south, it might have hit traffic or any of these big warehouses we have around here or any of these businesses or gas stations", Libby said. It was so low when it passed over that it rumbled the ground beneath his rig, he said. "I looked down and then looked back up and it didn't look like it nosedived, but it nearly looked like it stalled and just went nearly flat right there in the middle of the highway". They aren't releasing names until all the families have been contacted, but "most of them already know and have come to the base".

Belonging to the 156th Air Wing, it was used to rescue US citizens stranded in the British Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma and ferry supplies to the USA territory of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria past year.

The plane crashed about 11:30 a.m. shortly after taking off from Savannah, Georgia.

Libby reminded the public to to respect the lives that were lost and to be thankful that the plane didn't kill any people on the ground.

"Taking care of our fallen Airmen's families and loved ones is our top priority", Rivera said in a statement.

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There was no immediate word of injuries. Seconds later a fireball and thick black smoke appear.