Two pilots dead in crash of UPS cargo plane in Alabama

Posted at 7:13 AM, Aug 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-14 09:19:52-04

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Raw footage from this morning's #UPS cargo plane crash in #Birmingham, #Alabama. #breakingnews

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(CNN) – The pilot and co-pilot of a UPS cargo flight died Wednesday when the Airbus A300 they were flying crashed on approach to the Birmingham, Alabama, airport, Mayor William Bell said.

The plane, which took off from Louisville, Kentucky, went down around 4:45 a.m. (5:45 a.m. ET), according to airport officials. It crashed on a street that runs parallel to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Bell said.

The location is about 1/2 mile north of the runway, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told CNN.

Witnesses reported hearing “a large boom” followed by several other explosions, CNN affiliate WVTM reported.

No buildings were hit and no one on the ground was injured, Bell said.

However, Alabama Power cut electricity to about 140 buildings near the crash site as a precaution, utility spokesman Michael Sznajderman told CNN.

What caused the jet to crash was unclear. The weather was calm at the time of the crash, Bell said. The National Transportation Safety Board said it will send a team of investigators to the site.

The plane was one of two flights UPS sends to Birmingham each day, company spokesman Mike Mangeot told CNN affiliate WBRC.

Only UPS and FedEx fly the A300 in the United States, according to its manufacturer, Airbus, and the plane is now used only for cargo flights. UPS has 53 of the planes, according to Airbus.

Wednesday’s crash is the second involving an A300 in the United States. In 2001, an American Airlines A300 crashed in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, in New York City, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. All 260 people on board the plane, as well as five people on the ground, were killed. The cause was ultimately attributed to pilot error, according to the NTSB, which said the first officer put excessive pressure on the rudder pedal, causing the separation of the vertical stabilizer.