(CNN) — Puerto Rico’s National Guard on Thursday identified the nine airmen killed a day earlier when an aging cargo plane nosedived into a Georgia highway.
The WC-130 plane, from the 156th Airlift Wing on the island, was flying from Savannah to Tucson, Arizona, when it crashed shortly after takeoff.
“Taking care of our fallen airmen’s families and loved ones is our top priority,” said Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera, adjutant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
The pilot was identified as Maj. José R. Román Rosado, who had 18 years of service. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
The other Puerto Rican airmen:
— Maj. Carlos Pérez Serra, a navigator with 23 years of service, survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter
— 1st Lt. David Albandoz, a co-pilot with 16 years of service, survived by his wife and daughter. Albandoz lived in Madison.
— Senior Master Sgt. Jan Paravisini, a mechanic with 21 years of service, survived by two daughters and a son
— Master Sgt. Jean Audriffred, with 16 years of service and survived by his wife and two sons
— Master Sgt. Mario Braña, a flight engineer with 17 years of service, survived by his mother and daughter
— Master Sgt. Víctor Colón, who had 22 years of service and is survived by his wife and two daughters
— Master Sgt. Eric Circuns, a loadmaster with 31 years of service, survived by his wife, two stepdaughters and a son
— Senior Airman Roberto Espada, who had three years of service and is survived by his grandmother.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Roselló declared nine days of mourning for the crew, during which flags in the territory will fly at half-staff, according to a statement from his office.
Wednesday’s incident brought the number of US service members who have died in noncombat-related crashes of military aircraft to at least 27 this year.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Guard Bureau and the Air Force, said Rivera.
The WC-130 was used during Hurricane Maria for relief efforts, the Puerto Rico National Guard said. The plane also was used during Hurricane Irma to rescue US citizens from the British Virgin Islands.
The American Red Cross is providing support services to families of the victims, officials said.