9 dead in military plane crash near Savannah

A team of military investigators continued working into the night Wednesday, trying to learn what caused a military cargo plane to crash in Savannah, killing 9 people according to The Associated Press.

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard C-130 nosedived out of the sky just outside near the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport on Wednesday morning.

Once Channel 2 Action News learned about the crash, Channel 2’s Richard Elliot traveled to Savannah. 

Lauren Sapp told Elliot she was sitting in her construction company office when she heard that cargo plane fell out of the sky.

[PHOTOS: Military plane crashes near Savannah; at least 5 dead]

“It was quite scary,” Sapp said. “We were sitting here in our office and there was a loud bang and explosion. Everybody jumped up in the office and went running out back.”

She told Elliot when she got outside all she saw was a large plume of thick, black smoke. 

Mark Jones Jr. was driving down Highway 21 and saw the C-130 crash right in front of him. He grabbed his cellphone and shot video just seconds after it happened.

“(It) literally just dropped out of the sky and blew up on the street,” Jones said. 

Local authorities said it was "a miracle" that no cars were hit by the plane.

“As far we know there were no cars hit in this crash, it is an absolute miracle at that time or day and that intersection," said Gena Bilbo, public information officer at Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, during a news conference.

[READ: Cargo plane was set to be retired when it crashed outside Savannah]

The Associated Press said the 60-year-old plane was being flown into retirement. 

Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons said a specialized team of military investigators is coming down from South Carolina to examine the wreckage and try and determine what went wrong.

“There is an interim safety board that will be securing the scene, and they will secure the scene for as along as it takes to start the process of investigating this to find out what the cause and look at all the factors in this,” Parson said. 

President Donald Trump said he's been briefed on the plane crash. He said he shares thoughts and prayers for the victims.

Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue called the crash devastating and thanked all the first responders who were at the scene.

The Georgia Department of Transportation told Elliot that Highway 21 will remain closed indefinitely as the crash is investigated. 

The crash also damaged a CSX rail line affecting shipping in and out of the Port of Savannah.

“There’s about a 600-foot by 600-foot debris field for the crash,” Deputy Gena Bilbo with the Effingham County Sheriff's Office said. 

 

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