Nine Puerto Rican airmen leave lasting impression on community

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - The lengthy investigation into Wednesday's deadly C-130 crash in Port Wentworth is still a long ways from over. First responders and community members are coming together as Puerto Rico is mourning the deaths of the nine airmen.

People that were on the ground when a C-130 military plane fell from the sky say they'll remember Wednesday for the rest of their lives.

"I just I knew it was bad," said Jimmy Livingston, who saw the plane before it crashed. "And there's a clearing in between two trees. When it came out behind the trees, I saw it turn over and do a nose dive into the ground."

The support is coming in every direction from first responders and local businesses.

"It's a military town," said Chaz Ortiz, the owner of a local Latin restaurant. "It's a huge military base in Savannah. We're a military city. They are our heroes. They are there every day for us along with the firefighters, police, and EMTs."

The nine airmen that lost their lives Wednesday morning have touched the hearts of the community, especially those who have close roots to Puerto Rico.

"I found out what happened and I was like 'Oh my gosh, I did a hurricane relief project with a lot of these folks. Is it anyone I know?"

Chaz owns a local Latin restaurant. He says Senior Master Sergeant Jan Paravisini would stop in from time to time for a taste of home.
"Before I had my career here and opened my business, I worked in the aircraft industry for many years. So you know it's a possibility, but you are never prepared for anything like this."

While most are still trying to stand on their feet again after Hurricane Maria, Chaz says he is praying for those nine families.

"Right when we think we are getting back and repaired and everything is happening in Puerto Rico, bam, this happens to a regiment from Puerto Rico," Ortiz said. "It's just like how many more bumps can we take."

Along with businesses in the area, the salvation army is accepting donations for workers still at the crash site.

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