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9 dead in crash of military cargo plane headed to Tucson Boneyard

A WC-130 cargo aircraft that crashed near Savannah, Ga., on Wednesday was being flown to be decommissioned in Tucson, reports said. Nine Puerto Rico Air National Guard crew members were killed in the crash.

The plane — outfitted as a "hurricane hunter" and used last year to evacuate U.S. citizens from Caribbean islands in the path of a storm — nosedived into a highway just after takeover from the airfield in Georgia, where it had undergone maintenance prior to what was to be its final planned flight, news reports said.

The four-engine weather reconnaissance turboprop plane from Puerto Rico’s 156th Airlift Wing went down around 11:30 a.m. local time near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. At about 60 years old, the plane was among the oldest military C-130s still flying.

Puerto Rican ANG officials said that the plane was to be flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, to be decommissioned at parked at the Aerospace Regeneration and Maintenance Group "boneyard" here.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, and military authorities did not release the identities of those killed in the crash Wednesday, pending notification of their families.

"Nine crew members died in the accident, but until their families and relatives are notified, we cannot give their names," Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera said. "Our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the families and loved ones of our aviators."

"While we are waiting for more information regarding this unfortunate accident, my thoughts and those of Beatriz are with the families of the crew. They will receive our support and that of the National Guard of Puerto Rico in this process, " Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said.

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Savannah Professional Firefighters Association/IAFF Local 574