While performing a training mission, an US C-130 “Hercules” cargo aircraft from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard crashed about 11:30 am (15:30 GMT) near the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia, USA yesterday. Early reports suggested there were five people on board; later media reports put the total at nine personnel killed.
A board of inquiry will be established from National Guard officers. C-130 crashes are rare, lending the type the nickname ‘Hercules’.
According to CNN, the aircraft, at least fifty years old, was flying from the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia to Tucson, Arizona, where it was to due be decommissioned. The aircraft was a version normally outfitted to undertake weather reconnaissance.
“Nine crew members died in the accident, but until their families and relatives are notified, we cannot give their names,” Brigadier General Isabelo Rivera said. “Our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the families and loved ones of our aviators.”
According to CNN, witnesses claim the aircraft made a loud “strange noise” just before the crash and that the ground shook as if a bomb went off when it hit.
Puerto Rico’s governor sent his condolences. “While we are waiting for more information regarding this unfortunate accident, my thoughts are with the families of the crew. They will receive our support and that of the National Guard of Puerto Rico in this process,” Govenor Ricardo Rosselló said.
President Donald Trump also tweeted his support. “Please join me in thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the great men and women of the National Guard,” he said.
CNN reported that the aircraft, from the 156th Airlift Wing in Puerto Rico, had been in Savannah for “a number of days” undergoing routine maintenance heading to the Aerospace Regeneration and Maintenance Group in Arizona.