U.S. Marines KC-130 crashes in Mississippi

A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130T airplane crashed into a soybean field in rural Mississippi on Monday, July 10, 2017. Air traffic controllers in Memphis, Tennessee said that the plane may have suffered a structural failure at 20,000 feet. Eyewitnesses working on farms near the area in which the military tanker/transport crashed reported that the plane was smoking as it descended and that it "corkscrewed" down to the ground. Fifteen Marines and one Navy corpsman were killed.

Initial reports indicate that there may have been a catastrophic event at high altitude. Debris from the crash was scattered over an area approximately 5 miles wide. There may have been ammunition on board the military craft. An eyewitness reported that the fire resulting from the crash was punctuated by the "pops of small explosions."

The KC-130T flew out of Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, NY.  The plane was part of the Stewart-based Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452. The local unit is known as "The Yankees."

Kreindler attorneys have handled matters involving military C-130 aircraft. Kreindler partners include former military pilots Justin Green, Daniel Rose and Brian Alexander. Kreindler attorneys have extensive experience in litigation involving all branches of military service and most aircraft used by the armed services. Kreindler represented nearly all of the Marines (more than 20) who lost their lives in two MV-22 Osprey helicopter crashes. That litigation focused on V-22 manufacturers Boeing and Bell Helicopter. Another recent military case involved successfully resolving claims for the families of 5 Norwegian Air Force service members killed in a KC-120 crash in 2012. That litigation involved pursuing claims against the plane manufacturer Lockheed Martin and a component systems manufacturer, Honeywell.

An important aspect of litigation in regard to accidents involving military aircraft is understanding application of the Feres doctrine. The Feres doctrine (1950) effectively bars service members from collecting damages from the U.S. government for personal injuries experienced in the performance of their duties. It also bars families of service members from filing wrongful death or loss of consortium actions when a service member is killed or injured.

So typically, a plaintiff's military crash investigation focuses on specific liability due to the aircraft and/or the component parts, but rarely on the branch of service or the government.