Cargo plane crashes in Dubai, two dead

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

The crash site of UPS Airlines Flight 6. Both of the two crew were killed in the accident.
Image: Liallena.

According to Wakalat Anba'a al-Emarat, the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates, a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane belonging to the United States courier UPS Airlines, crashed after take-off in Dubai on Friday. Two crew members were on board at the time of the crash, both of whom were killed. There were no reports of any other deaths or injuries on the ground.

The aircraft was en route to Cologne Bonn Airport in Cologne, Germany when it crashed. According to witnesses, at around 7.45 p.m. local time, it caught fire and attempted to return to the airport, then crashed into the ground near Dubai Silicon Oasis. It had just taken off from Dubai International Airport a few minutes beforehand. The crash site is inside the perimeter fence of Emirati air base, located near a busy highway intersection.

A contributing witness on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network, an aviation discussion board, wrote: "Just five minutes ago. I heard and saw an aircraft, possibly an airliner going down in Dubai near Silicon Oasis. It has just over-flown my house and [there was] a big fireball." Another contributor suggested that the aircraft was attempting to land on Runway 30L, when it declared an emergency and subsequently veered off course. The aircraft then allegedly disappeared from radar, descending through 500ft doing 250 knots. Another contributor reported that "the wreckage trail is fairly long ... so it looks like it is possible they still had control & tried to force land it."

UPS international operations manager Bob Lekites released a statement describing the incident as "very unfortunate" and that UPS "will do everything to find the cause." An investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched by UAE authorities, and Boeing has announced it intends to "send a team to provide technical support to the investigation upon invitation from the authorities." The National Transportation Safety Board of the United States also released a press statement, stating that it "will dispatch an aviation investigator to assist the government of United Arab Emirates in its investigation of the crash". The team will, according to the statement "include NTSB specialists in the areas of human performance, fire, operations, and systems."