Nine feared dead in Georgia as cargo plane crashed

Military plane crashes in Savannah Georgia first responders on scene

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.

The Hercules C-130J aircraft went down about 11:30 am (1530 GMT), shortly after takeoff from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, about 175 miles (280 km) southeast of Atlanta, officials said.

The four-engine plane sent up a cloud of black smoke, with a tail wing coming to rest on a median, television images showed.

Photos and videos taken at the site of the crash show heavily damaged aircraft parts, indicating a severe impact.

Officials did not publicly name any of the people aboard the plane who were confirmed or believed dead, except to say they were all Puerto Ricans.

The aircraft had been in use for more than 6 decades, and was making its final flight before being retired.

Denise Barnes was at her desk working at a construction firm when she heard a boom so loud it shook the building.

At least five National Guard members from Puerto Rico were killed when an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane crashed near Savannah, Georgia, The Associated Press reports.

Speaking in Carolina, P.R., near San Juan, General Rivera signaled concern about the age and condition of the unit's fleet.

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"It didn't look like it nosedived, but it nearly looked like it stalled and just went nearly flat right there in the middle of the highway", Jones said.

Puerto Rico's Gov. Rosselló released this statement regarding the plane crash. Paul Dahlen says it's a sad day for Puerto Rico's National Guard.

Motorist Mark Jones told the Savannah Morning News that he saw the plane hit the road right in front of him.

The County deputy coroner previously said two people had died in the crash.

Williams said she didn't have any other details on the deaths Wednesday.

The 165th Airlift Wing based in Savannah, which responded to the crash, said on Facebook that the plane had been "performing a training mission".

In Georgia, where the governor observed a moment of silence for the crash victims at a bill signing in Statesboro, officials said they expected the inquiry into the crash to be protracted, as well as potentially disruptive to day-to-day life in the surrounding Port Wentworth community outside Savannah. The Air Force said five is a standard crew for the WC-130.

Chatham County Emergency Management Agency tweeted: "There has been a plane crash at the intersection of Hwy 21 at Crossgate Rd".

There was no immediate word of injuries.

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