Five dead after cargo plane crashes shortly after take off on training mission

A C-130 military cargo plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after taking off from an airport in Savannah in Georgia.

At least five people are confirmed to have been killed in the accident and it is thought five people were on board.

Plumes of black smoke can be seen and emergency services are on the scene.

The plane was reportedly on a training mission when it came down.

“It was horrible,” Denver Goodwin told WGNO. Denver works at a wrecker service down the street from the crash.

“The ground shook like a bomb was going off. All the people in the building started panicking. It was absolutely horrible.”

Witnesses called WTOC and reported actually seeing the plane go down.

Chelsea Sinclair, who works at a nearby Parker’s, said the store shook when the plane crashed.

"It went nose-first down," she said. "We’re hearing it was a military passenger plane.

"We were seeing a bunch of black smoke, but now it’s just EMS and fire trucks and police," she said.

Mariah Majors, an employee at the Carey Hilliard’s on Highway 21, said she could see smoke in the air but could not see the plane.

"There was a loud boom, and our lights flickered on and off," Majors said. "I turned around about two to three minutes later and saw tons of smoke."

The US Air Force has confirmed that a US Air National Guard C-130 crashed shortly after take off at around 11:30 am (local time).

Gregory Martin, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane belonged to the Puerto Rico National Guard and was bound for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

The Washington Post reports it was a WC-130 with the 156th Airlift Wing out of Puerto Rico. The air frame is used for weather reconnaissance missions.

A spokesman for the Georgia Air National Guard, Captain Jeffrey Bezore, said the four-engine aircraft, which had five people on board, was on a training mission.

He added: "The names will be released upon notification of next-of-kin. A board of officers will investigate the accident."

The crash did not occur at the airport but a few miles away, off state Highway 21, airport spokeswoman Candace Carpenter said. Smoke was visible from the airport.

A tweet from the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association showed the tail of the plane emerging from black smoke and fire.

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.

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