Georgia, US.- As military investigators probe the cause of the crash of an aging C-130 cargo plane, the families of nine Puerto Rican airmen grieved Thursday over the deaths of an experienced crew killed amid the wreckage scattered across a Georgia highway.
There were no survivors when the C-130 Hercules transport plunged to the ground near Savannah, Georgia, missing motorists and buildings Wednesday. The plane was long a part of the fleet of Puerto Rico’s Air National Guard and had rescued and resupplied U.S. citizens after last year’s hurricanes. Wednesday’s flight was supposed to have been its final flight. The huge military plane was being flown into retirement in Arizona, reducing Puerto Rico’s National Guard fleet to five similar planes, two of which need maintenance and aren’t being used, Adjutant Gen. Isabelo Rivera said. He initially said the aircraft was more than 60 years old but authorities later corrected that its age was closer to 40 years.
“The planes that we have in Puerto Rico — it’s not news today that they are the oldest planes on inventory” among all National Guard planes nationwide, and they often face delays in getting spare parts shipped to the island, he said.
Col. Pete Boone, vice-commander of the Savannah-based 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard, said at a Thursday news conference that the plane had been in Savannah for “routine maintenance” and crashed after taking off for Arizona.