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US military plane crashes in Mississippi, at least 16 killed

A military transport plane crashed in southern US state of Mississippi's Delta region on Monday, killing at least 16 people on board, officials said.

The KC-130 military refueling tanker crashed about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of state capital Jackson.

A helicopter was searching for others in the dark around the crash site in a soybean field on Monday, more than five hours after the KC-130 refueling tanker spiraled to the ground into a soybean field.

The crash was reported about 4 p.m. local time and debris from the plane was scattered in a radius of about 5 miles (8 kilometers). An intense fire fed by jet fuel hampered firefighters causing them to turn to unmanned devices in an attempt to control the flames.

There were several high-intensity explosions too.

Aerial pictures taken by a local showed the skeleton of the plane burning fiercely, producing plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat landscape of the delta.

The incident was a "tragedy", Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement on social media site Facebook, but offered no details.