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Military to use 'every resource' to probe crash

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Posted at 2:00 PM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 14:00:00-04

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (AP) - The Latest on a military cargo plane crash in Georgia (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

The U.S. military has launched its investigation into the crash of a C-130 cargo plane that killed nine Puerto Rican airmen after takeoff in Georgia.

Col. Pete Boone of the Georgia Air National Guard told reporters Thursday that investigators will "use every resource at our disposal to identify a cause."

Boone said the military has also confirmed all nine airmen on board died when the large aircraft plunged onto a highway near Savannah, causing a large fireball and explosion. He said families of the dead are being notified.

Boone said the plane was in Savannah for "routine maintenance" and crashed after taking off for Arizona.

Officials with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard have said the aircraft was 60 years old, but Boone said its age was closer to 40.

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9 a.m.

The pilot of a military transport plane that crashed in coastal Georgia has been identified as the father of two young boys.

The mayor of Manati, along Puerto Rico's north coast, said Maj. Jose Rafael Roman was the pilot. Mayor Jose Sanchez said Roman's wife is five months pregnant with a baby girl.

The mayor said, "The town is in mourning."

The entire nine-member crew was killed when the C-130 Hercules from Puerto Rico's National Guard crashed Wednesday morning onto a Georgia highway.

It was supposed to be the plane's final flight before being retired in Arizona.

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12:01 a.m.

Puerto Rico's National Guard commander says the plane that crashed onto a Georgia highway and killed its entire crew was more than 60 years old.

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

Nine Puerto Ricans were on board Wednesday for what was supposed to be its final flight before being retired in Arizona.

Rivera says the U.S. territory's planes are the oldest on inventory among National Guard aircraft nationwide.

He says it's too early to say what might have caused the plane to drop out of the sky. It came down so hard that its tail was the only section still intact.

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This story has been corrected to say in the 9 a.m. item that the crash was Wednesday, not Thursday.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - There are no confirmed survivors after a military plane crashed on GA-21 at Gulfstream Road in Port Wentworth. GA. The plane was carrying possibly up to nine people. 

According to a news release from the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, the C-130 Hercules cargo plane from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard crashed at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday while performing a training mission. The Federal Aviation Administration says the plane was headed to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ.

Hwy 21 between Crossgate Road and Dean Forest Road will be closed indefinitely. The train tracks were also affected and are closed. 

Gulfstream has released the following statement for employees: 

Employees can access the main entrance from Airways Avenue by showing their Gulfstream or FlightSafety ID to officers responding to the military aircraft crash. Second-shift G650 employees should park in the North lot and walk across the ramp. To leave the East lot, turn left on Robert B. Miller Road and left on Gulfstream Road. Traffic leaving the West and North lots can only turn left on Gulfstream Road.

The Georgia Ports Authority released the following statement for employees: 

Following the crash of a C-130 military aircraft, the Georgia Department of Transportation instituted a road closure and detour on Georgia State Route 21 between Crossgate Road and Piedmont Avenue. Motorists traveling north on SR 21 are being detoured onto SR 307 North, then west on the Jimmy Deloach Connector to the Sonny Dixon Interchange back to SR 21, where the detour ends. Motorists traveling south on SR 21 are being detoured onto Sonny Dixon Interchange to Jimmy Deloach Connector, then east to SR 307 South back to SR 21, where the detour ends. Truck gates at Garden City Terminal have not been affected. Gates will remain open until the regular time of 6 p.m. Norfolk Southern remains able to move rail cargo from Atlanta to its Dillard Yard in Savannah, however NS is delayed from bringing trains to Garden City Terminal. Rail cargo moving over CSX Transportation’s lines has not been affected. The Georgia Ports Authority wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the families of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard members who lost their lives in the crash.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System sent a notification to parents advising that power, phone and network services have been shut down at both Port Wentworth Elementary and Rice Creek School due to the crash. Officials advise that there are no impacts or threats to the schools. School operations currently remain on our regular operating regular schedule. 

Also, we are told that individuals should check with their airline if they are flying out of Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. 

"As far as we know, there were no cars hit in this crash. It is an absolute miracle at that time of day, at that intersection," said Gena Bilbo, Effingham County Sheriff's Office. 

President Donald J. Trump tweeted about the incident on Wednesday afternoon. 

Rep. Buddy Carter also shared his thoughts via Twitter: 

Stay with us for the very latest as soon as it becomes available.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.