Mississippi and federal officials say it could take up to one week to locate the remains of the 16 servicemen who were killed in the military plane crash earlier this week in rural LeFlore County. MPB's Alexis Ware reports
It was just after 4 pm on Monday when air traffic control lost contact with Marine Corp KC-130 transport aircraft.
"Shortly there after large plumes of smoke were discovered in the Itta Bena, Mississippi area."
One-Star General Bradley James is the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Aircraft Unit in New Orleans. He says problems developed while the aircraft was at cruise altitude. The plane crashed into a soybean field in LeFlore County and killed 15 Marines and one Navy sailor.
James says officials will now continue the recovery process and investigation.
"We're working through the process in a four-phase approach. Number one recovery of remains and effects, notification of next of kin. Number two preservation of impact sites and equipment. Number three investigation. Number four will be the clean up and restoration of the impact site."
The debris extends for about three miles with two large impact areas being a half mile north and south of U.S. 82. Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher says residents should be aware of dangerous debris.
"There are items that are going to be recovered by teams on the ground. Some of these may be unsafe. So members of the public if you happen upon any of these items it's very important to note none of this stuff should be touched removal of anything from any of these areas could be subject to criminal prosecution."
The military will release the roster of the deceased in the next few days. This incident is the deadliest military crash since 2005.