The WC-130 plane belonged to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. It was categorized for decommissioning and was on its last flight from Savannah, Georgia, to Tucson, Arizona. It crashed shortly after takeoff and nose-dived into a highway in Georgia. There were nine people on board and no one survived.

CNN reports that military authorities are investigating why the cargo plane met such a tragic end. Fortunately, there were no casualties on the ground. All those on board were from Puerto Rico. State Highway 21 has been closed indefinitely to allow the investigators to examine all available evidence from the site of the crash.

Could the tragedy have been avoided?

This type of plane was used extensively by the military to carry our various types of duties and this particular WC-130 had provided excellent service in terms of evacuating people from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck last year. The plane was more than half a century old and was to be decommissioned and sent to the final resting place of such planes in Arizona. However, it crashed soon after taking off from Georgia.

Before the accident, the plane had been in Savannah undergoing routine maintenance before undertaking its last flight to Arizona to add to the inventory of military planes that had outlived their usefulness. Investigators arrived at the scene to ascertain probable reasons for the accident.

It is a robust plane

WC-130 has been in use since 1954 and is considered to be a reliable aircraft that has been put to use in different configurations ranging from duties to transport men and equipment to being converted to a gunship. This plane belonging to Puerto Rico had been modified for weather reconnaissance duties, and the accident was captured on video.

That should help the investigators, along with equipment in the plane that records different parameters. It was used for relief work during Hurricane Maria and also to rescue people from the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma.

The Washington Post adds that Col. Pete Boone, a spokesman for Georgia’s Air National Guard, has said that the C-130 is a 1970 vintage and had been sent to Georgia for routine maintenance.

It was used when the hurricane struck Puerto Rico, and was subsequently used to move supplies from the U.S. mainland to the island. All nine crew members who were killed in the accident had been associated with the hurricane recovery effort.