A military plane that plummeted onto a Savannah highway on Wednesday was on its final flight after more than 40 years of service, it has been revealed along with the identities of the nine crew who died.
The ageing C-130 Hercules, part of Puerto Rico's National Guard fleet that assisted with relief efforts after Hurricane Irma, was being flown for retirement in Arizona when it nosedived next to Port Wentworth at 11.30am.
The pilot of the plane - which had received 'days' of maintenance before the crash - was identified as Major José Rafael Román, 43, who hails from the coastal town of Manati along Puerto Rico's north coast.
The mayor of that town, Jose Sanchez, said Román had two young boys and his wife is five months pregnant with a girl. 'The town is in mourning,' Sanchez said. 'My condolences to all Puerto Rican families.'
Although the other victims have not been officially named, they have been identified by local media as co-pilot David 'Lanita' Albandoz; navigator Carlos Pérez Cera; flight engineer Mario Braña; mechanic Jan Paravisini; loadmaster Eric Circuns; and crewmembers Victor 'Vitín' Colón and Roberto Espada Gali.
The families of the victims have been informed.
For a profile of the crew click here