- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he’s declaring an emergency in the area affected by the KC-130 crash that killed 15 Marines and a Navy corpsman this week.

Bryant, speaking to reporters Thursday, said the step will allow the state to continue to provide security at the crash site “as long as they need us” as crews work to catalog and remove debris.

The Republican governor also says he’s ordering flags lowered to half-staff statewide Friday to honor the people who died in the plane crash Monday. He says he wants the state to build a monument to memorialize the crash.

Bryant repeats warnings against people removing guns, ammunition or other debris from the site, saying souvenir hunters could face criminal prosecution.

The governor also asks Mississippi religious congregations to pray for the dead.

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