The C-130 aircraft had nine members of the Puerto Rican Guard on board, Isabelo Rivero, the Puerto Rico adjutant general, said at an afternoon news conference.
At the news conference, Rivera added to the confusion by saying that the number of fatalities was unknown.
"It is highly doubtful that anyone survived the crash," the Chatham County coroner, Dr.
The plane was from the 156th Airlift Wing out of Puerto Rico, an Air Force spokesman told NBC News.
The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on the crash to NBC News, saying it was a military matter.