Five killed in crash of US military cargo plane

At least five people died when a Puerto Rico Air National Guard weather reconnaissance plane crashed on Wednesday near Savannah, Georgia during a training flight, sending up thick clouds of black smoke, according to officials and television images.
A photo said to be of the scene posted to social media.
A photo said to be of the scene posted to social media.PHOTO: TWITTER

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A military cargo plane crashed in the southern US state of Georgia on Wednesday (May 2), killing all five people aboard, an official said.

The C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard crashed around 11.30am (11.30pm Singapore time) near the Savannah airport.

“There were five fatalities,” a spokeswoman from the Georgia National Guard said.

Photographs on Twitter showed the wreckage of a plane engulfed in flames and billowing black smoke.

US President Donald Trump later tweeted he had been briefed on the incident, and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

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 per cent from fiscal years 2013 to 2017.

The publication 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.