A US Marine Corps Lockheed Martin KC-130 aircraft has crashed in the US state of Mississippi.

Images show smoke towering above the burning wreckage of the aircraft. Local media reports indicate that 16 bodies have been recovered.

The crash reportedly occurred 85 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi. Observers quoted in media reports indicate that the aircraft spiraled down, trailing smoke. The crash occurred in the early evening while the sun was still up, in apparently mild conditions.

Debris from the crash is reportedly spread over a wide area.

"A USMC KC-130 mishap occurred the evening of July 10," says a Marine Corps Tweet. "Further information will be released as available.

The Marines and US Department of Defence have yet to provide more information about the crash, such as the specific variant, the aircraft's registration number, and the purpose of the flight.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the Marines operate 16 KC-130Ts and 52 KC-130Js. The average age of the KC-130Ts is 26.4 years, while the average age of the KC-130Js is 9.6 years.

Analyzer gives the primary usage of 67 of these aircraft as tanker-transports, while one is categorised as a military multi-role transport.

Source: FlightGlobal.com