This photo posted by IAFF574 on Twitter shows the wreckage of a Puerto Rico Air National Guarc WC-130H that crashed near Savannah, Ga., on Wednesday. Photo: IAFF574 on Twitter
A WC-130H from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 198th Airlift Squadron, 156th Airlift Wing, crashed near Savannah, Ga., Wednesday afternoon with nine personnel on board.
All nine were killed in the crash, according to The Associated Press.
Pictures posted by local first responders show WC-130H tail number 65-0968 and a burning fuselage on a local roadway. The Air Force confirmed Wednesday the aircraft is assigned to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, with the local 165th Airlift Wing coordinating the response.
Local members currently on scene assisting with clean up. pic.twitter.com/lSuRcqTx56
— IAFF574 Savannah (@IAFF574) May 2, 2018
The wing, based at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, PR, is tasked with providing global airlift and supporting US Southern Command in theater airlift and joint military exercises. The unit’s WC-130Hs recently saw heavy use in response to Hurricane Maria, helping evacuate thousands of civilians and assisting with disaster response.
The WC-130H was on its way to the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., when it crashed. The Puerto Rico Air National Guard has two other WC-130Hs that are not flyable because the need maintenance, Puerto Rico National Guard Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera told the AP.
Wednesday’s crash was the latest in a series of Air Force and broader military mishaps, including the recent fatal crash of a Thunderbird on April 4, another crash of an F-16 on April 24, and a crash of an HH-60G Pave Hawk in Iraq that killed all seven aboard in mid March.
The Air Force announced last month it is investigating recent crash rates to see if there is a discernible trend.