At least 5 people killed after US Air National Guard WC-130 military plane crashes in Georgia

A Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

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A Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
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REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A military transport plane from the Air National Guard crashed near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in eastern Georgia at about 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The Air Force identified the plane as a WC-130, a weather reconnaissance aircraft that has a minimal crew of five.

Nine people were aboard the plane at the time of the crash and five have been confirmed dead, ABC News reported, citing a Georgia Air National Guard captain.

The plane belonged to the Air National Guard 156th Airlift Wing based in Puerto Rico, according to Oriana Pawlyk, a reporter for Military.com.

A representative from the guard’s public-affairs department confirmed the crash to the Savannah Morning News but did not provide additional details.

The Air National Guard was not immediately available for comment.

The Chatham County Emergency Management Agency said in a tweet: “There has been a plane crash at the intersection of Hwy 21 at Crossgate Rd. Roads will be shut down. Please avoid the area.”

The Savannah Professional Firefighters Association tweeted an image of the wreckage, showing flames and a large plume of smoke, adding: “Military c130 down at 21 and Gulfstream Rd. Avoid the area. 21 shut down until further notice.”

A spokeswoman for the Port Wentworth Fire Department told HuffPost that black smoke could be seen pouring into the sky and that “everyone scrambled” to the scene when the call came in.

Here’s what the highway looked like after the crash: