At least two people were killed on Wednesday after an Air National Guard plane crashed near an airport in Savannah, Ga., according to media reports.
An Air Force spokesperson said a C-130 aircraft carrying five people went down near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and confirmed that there were fatalities, but declined to say how many.
The Air Force said the names of the aircraft’s crew would not be released until their next of kin have been notified.
President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE offered his thoughts and prayers for the victims in a Wednesday afternoon tweet.
I have been briefed on the U.S. C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane from the Puerto Rico National Guard that crashed near Savannah Hilton Head International Airport. Please join me in thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the great men and women of the National Guard.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2018
The C-130 belonged to the Air National Guard’s 156th Airlift Wing out of Puerto Rico, the Air Force said. A Georgia-based Guard unit is responding to the crash.
The Savannah-based 165th Airlift Wing said the plane went down while performing a training mission and that the crash would be investigated by a board of officers.
Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons of the 165th Airlift Wing said at a press conference that the plane took off from Savannah/Hilton Head Airport, from which the Air National Guard also operates.
Parsons declined to say how many deaths or injuries resulted from the crash, as well as how many people were on the plane, though he confirmed that there were fatalities.
“Anytime we lose any of our brothers and sisters in arms it’s devastating,” he said.
Parsons did not say what may have caused the C-130 to go down, but said that a safety board would convene to examine the crash.
The plane went down near the intersection of Highway 21 and Crossgate Road, just down the street from the airport, the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) said. The CCEMA declined to confirm how many injuries or fatalities resulted from the crash.
A photo of the crash posted online by the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association showed the aircraft’s tail surrounded by a cloud of black smoke with an ambulance nearby.
Military c130 down at 21 and Gulfstream Rd. Avoid the area. 21 shut down until further notice. pic.twitter.com/6hUqwmkNUu— IAFF574 Savannah (@IAFF574) May 2, 2018
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport said on social media shortly after the crash that some flights were being affected by the plane crash. A later update said that flights were arriving and departing with “minimal delays.”
Some flights are beginning to be impacted due to an aircraft incident off property. Customers should check with their airline prior to clearing security.— SAV Airport (@fly_SAV) May 2, 2018
Flights are arriving and departing at this time with minimal delays. If you're traveling to the airport via Highway 21 and Gulfstream Road from Savannah you will need to seek an alternate route.— SAV Airport (@fly_SAV) May 2, 2018
An Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said at a press conference on Wednesday that significant portions of Highway 21 will be closed indefinitely due to the crash, and that it could be weeks before the road returns to normal service.
Gena Bilbo said that the crash also caused power outages, but could not say how many people were affected
“The power has been cut to the area and we are trying desperately to bring the power [back], but right now, until we get everything under control, the power will be cut and we’re not sure of how many people are impacted,” she said.
The 165th Airlift Wing has been active in relief efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. It was designated by the Air National Guard in September as the center point for operations to assist Puerto Rico, which was devastated by the storms.
—Updated at 4:35 p.m.