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On Wednesday May 2nd 2018 at approximately 1130 local time, a Puerto Rico Air National Guard (ANG) Lockheed C-130H Hercules airlifter crashed near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (KSAV) in Georgia. The stricken aircraft came to rest on Highway 21 at Crossgate Road but no injuries to those on the ground or property damage were reported at the scene. No survivors were reported by authorities at the scene either. The normal crew for the C-130H is five but it is believed additional personnel may have been aboard the aircraft at the time of the crash. An investigation into the cause of the crash is now underway.
The Lockheed C-130H, Air Force serial number 65-0968 (CN 4110), was assigned to the 198th Airlift Squadron (AS) Bucaneros (Buccaneers) of the 156th Airlift Wing (AW) and based at Muniz Air National Guard Base (ANGB) near San Juan in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The aircraft was manufactured by Lockheed as an HC-130H model and later converted to the WC-130H specification for weather reconnaissance work, serving with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (WRS) Hurricane Hunters out of Keesler Air Force Base (AFB) in Mississippi.
After being converted to the C-130H specification, 65-0968 served with the 53rd AS Blackjack of the 19th AW out of Little Rock AFB in Arkansas and with the 105th AS of the 118th AW, Tennessee ANG out of Berry Field ANGB at Nashville in Tennessee. The airlifter began serving with the Puerto Rico ANG in 2007. The 198th AS flies a mixture of C-130H and WC-130H model Hercules. Though the aircraft was on a local training mission when it crashed its ultimate destination was the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) boneyard Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona for storage.
UPDATE 5/2/2018: A surveillance camera video of the crash has surfaced on the web. We will not, out of respect for those who perished and the ongoing investigation, provide it as part of our coverage. Avgeeks who want to view it can find it easily enough.
UPDATE 5/3/2018: A Puerto Rico Air National Guard spokesman has confirmed that there were nine souls on board the aircraft when it crashed after takeoff from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (KSAV) in Georgia. All on board the aircraft perished in the crash.
UPDATE 5/3/2018: The Associated Press has released the names of those who died in the crash:
- Major Jose R. Roman Rosado, (pilot) of Manati in Puerto Rico.
- First Lieutenant David Albandoz (co-pilot) of Madison in Alabama.
Major Carlos Perez Serra (navigator) of Canovanas in Puerto Rico.
- Senior Master Sergeant Jan Paravisini of Canovanas in Puerto Rico.
- Master Sergeant Jean Audriffred of Carolina in Puerto Rico.
- Master Sergeant Mario Brana (flight engineer) of Bayamon in Puerto Rico.
- Master Sergeant Eric Circuns (loadmaster) of Rio Grande in Puerto Rico.
- Master Sergeant Victor Colon of Santa Isabel in Puerto Rico.
- Senior Airman Roberto Espada of Salinas in Puerto Rico.