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- A military refueling plane crashed in LeFlore County, Mississippi Monday afternoon killing all 16 service members on board, the US Marine Corps (USMC) announced Tuesday.
- The FBI and USMC are investigating the cause of the incident, which is currently unknown, the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department told The Whim.
- Sheriff Ricky Banks told The Whim that other agencies were on the ground, but would not identify them.
- The USMC is currently withholding the names of the deceased crew and passengers, which include 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman, “to allow time for their loved ones to be notified.”
- The flight took off from a Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. The plane was transporting personnel and equipment to Naval Air Field El Centro, California.
- Because the plane carried “various small arms ammunition and personal weapons… an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team” was deployed to the site as a precaution.
Video of the crash site:
- In 1971, a civilian airliner collided in mid-air with a USMC plane, resulting in the deaths of 49 people.
- In 1998, 20 civilians died when a USMC plane cut a cable supporting a cable car at a ski resort, sending the car plummeting 260 feet.
- In 2008, an F/A-18 Hornet crashed into a residential area near San Diego killing four civilians.
- In 2016, 12 service members were killed after two USMC helicopters collided in the Pacific.
- President Donald Trump tweeted:
Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2017
- Sen. Thom Tillis (North Carolina), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee, said in a statement:
“Susan and I send our deepest condolences to the families of the Marines who lost their lives in service to our nation. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the Havelock community are in our thoughts and prayers. This is a tragic reminder of the dangers our service members are confronted with on a daily basis, including the training missions that are needed to help keep our nation safe at home and abroad.”
- Gen. Robert Neller, commander of the USMC, tweeted the following statement:
— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) July 11, 2017
- Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the crash at the beginning of Tuesday’s press briefing. She said:
“As of now the investigation into the details of the crash is still ongoing… the thoughts and prayers of the entire administration are with the friends and families of the Marines who died in this tragic accident.”
- Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant wrote on Facebook:
Chris Larson contributed to this report.