Officials: UPS cargo jet crashes in Birmingham; 2 killed - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Officials: UPS cargo jet crashes in Birmingham; 2 killed

Posted: Updated:
A postal inspector officer looks over the debris of an UPS Airbus A300 cargo plane after it crashed on approach at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport this morning Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager) A postal inspector officer looks over the debris of an UPS Airbus A300 cargo plane after it crashed on approach at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport this morning Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

By JAY REEVES and ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A UPS cargo plane crashed into a field near the Birmingham airport Wednesday, killing two pilots and scattering wreckage over a wide rural area moments after witnesses heard the massive jet coming in at treetop level.

People living near the airfield reported seeing flames coming from the aircraft and hearing its engines struggle in the final moments before impact.

"It was on fire before it hit," said Jerome Sanders, who lives directly across from the runway.

The plane, an A300 that had departed from Louisville, Ky., went down around daybreak about a half-mile from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport. It broke into several pieces and caught fire. The pilot and co-pilot were the only people aboard.

Weather conditions at the time were rainy with low clouds.

Toni Herrera-Bast, a spokeswoman for the city's airport authority, said the crash did not affect airport operations, but it knocked down power lines.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to the scene.

A preliminary investigation indicated the pilots did not make any distress calls, board member Robert L. Sumwalt said.

Investigators were waiting to retrieve the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders because the tail of the aircraft was still smoldering, Sumwalt said.

UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford said the jet was carrying a variety of cargo. He did not elaborate.

The pilots' names were not immediately released. But a man who identified himself as a family member said one of the pilots was Shanda Fanning, a woman in her mid-30s from Lynchburg, Tenn.

Wes Fanning, who said he was the woman's brother-in-law, said Shanda Fanning had been flying since she was a teenager.

He said officials contacted her mother and that UPS representatives were with the family.

Ryan Wimbleduff, who lives just across the street from the airport property, said the crash shook his house violently. Standing in his driveway, he and his mother could see the burning wreckage.

"I ran outside and it looked like the sun was coming up because of the fire on the hill," he said. "Balls of fire were rolling toward us."

Chunks of riveted metal that appeared to be from the plane landed in the yard of Cornelius and Barbara Benson, who also live near the crash site.

Barbara Benson said she was awakened by a tremendous boom and "saw a big red flash" through her bedroom window.

As day broke, the two were able to see that the tops of trees around their property had been knocked down and they were missing a piece of their back deck.

Cornelius Benson said planes routinely fly so low over his house that a few years ago, the airport authority sent crews to trim treetops.

The planes come close enough that Barbara Benson has sometimes been able to "to wave at the captains as they pass."

Sharon Wilson, who also lives near the airport, said she was in bed before dawn when she heard what sounded like engines sputtering as the plane went over her house.

James Giles said the plane missed his home by a couple of hundred yards, judging from tree damage and debris. He was at work at the time but said it was clear from the scene that the plane was attempting to land on the north-south runway that is typically used by much smaller aircraft. Large planes such as the A300 typically aim for the bigger east-west runway, he said.

"They were just trying to get to a landing spot, anywhere," he said.

The plane was built in 2003 and had logged about 11,000 flight hours over 6,800 flights, Airbus said in a news release.

The A300, Airbus' first plane, began flying in 1972. Airbus quit building them in 2007 after making a total of 816 A300 and A310s. The model was retired from U.S. passenger service in 2009.

Wednesday's crash comes nearly three years after another UPS cargo plane crashed in the United Arab Emirates, just outside Dubai. Both pilots were killed.

Authorities there blamed the Sept. 3, 2010, crash on the jet's load of 80,000 to 90,000 lithium batteries, which are sensitive to temperature. Investigators determined that a fire probably began in the cargo containing the batteries.

___

Associated Press writers Johnny Clark in Birmingham, Ala.; Becky Yonker and Bruce Schreiner in Louisville, Ky.; Jeff Martin in Atlanta and Josh Freed in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Authorities need help finding 2 runaway teens in Morgan County

    Authorities need help finding 2 runaway teens in Morgan County

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:30:51 GMT
    The Morgan County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in finding two runaway teens.More >>
    The Morgan County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in finding two runaway teens.More >>
  • Blount County Shooting Victim Identified

    Blount County Shooting Victim Identified

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:47 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:47:32 GMT
    The Blount County Sheriff's office has identified the 34-year old man who was shot and killed in the 1600 block of Tawbush Road yesterday. Deputies say Ayatollah Khomeini Muhammad's driver's license listed a Center Point, Alabama address. Investigators say Muhammad did not reside at the Tawbush Road home, where he was removed by sheriffs deputies Wednesday morning. "What happened yesterday was he showed up at the house at 1 o'clock. Deputies were called over there. There were no problems, no...More >>
    The Blount County Sheriff's office has identified the 34-year old man who was shot and killed in the 1600 block of Tawbush Road yesterday. Deputies say Ayatollah Khomeini Muhammad's driver's license listed a Center Point, Alabama address. Investigators say Muhammad did not reside at the Tawbush Road home, where he was removed by sheriffs deputies Wednesday morning. "What happened yesterday was he showed up at the house at 1 o'clock. Deputies were called over there. There were no problems, no...More >>
  • Fridays To Go, July 25-27

    Fridays To Go, July 25-27

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:00:38 GMT

     These are a few of the events happening this weekend (July 25-27) in Central Alabama.

    More >>

     These are a few of the events happening this weekend (July 25-27) in Central Alabama.

    More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Homewood police: Woman allegedly assaulted, kidnapped Tuesday night

    Homewood police: Woman allegedly assaulted, kidnapped Tuesday night

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:40 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:40:22 GMT
    Police are investigating an alleged assault and kidnapping of a woman in Homewood Tuesday night.More >>
    Police are investigating an alleged assault and kidnapping of a woman in Homewood Tuesday night.
    More >>
  • Lawyer for doctors: Man's claims of botched circumcision, amputated penis are untrue

    Lawyer for doctors: Man's claims of botched circumcision, amputated penis are untrue

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:09:09 GMT
     Two doctors are denying claims by an Alabama man who says his penis was amputated during what was supposed to be a routine circumcision.More >>
     Two doctors are denying claims by an Alabama man who says his penis was amputated during what was supposed to be a routine circumcision.
    More >>
  • Antioch Baptist Church Plans Several Events to Honor Pastor Quinton Earl Hammond

    Birmingham Pastor Reaches Milestone

    Birmingham Pastor Reaches Milestone

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:50:40 GMT
    This is the 40th year of preaching for Dr. Quinton Earl Hammond. Thirty-four of those years were spent at Antioch Baptist Church.
    More >>
    This is the 40th year of preaching for Dr. Quinton Earl Hammond. Thirty-four of those years were spent at Antioch Baptist Church. Today, members wore black tee-shirts which boast how they feel about their beloved pastor. The shirts read, "We love our Pastor." Meanwhile, the Pastor of the church sports a tee-shirt that reads, "I love my church." Reverend Hammond's achievements are being celebrated at a black-tie Gala planned for August 8th 2014 at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham. A s...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Oneonta police need help identifying woman who stole flowers from gravesite (pictures)

    Oneonta police need help identifying woman who stole flowers from gravesite (pictures)

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:55 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:55:33 GMT
    Oneonta police have turned to Facebook in trying to identify a woman who apparently stole flowers from a gravesite at a Oakhill Cemetery on Tuesday.More >>
    Oneonta police have turned to Facebook in trying to identify a woman who apparently stole flowers from a gravesite at a Oakhill Cemetery on Tuesday.
    More >>
  • Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:06:38 GMT
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.More >>
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:05:18 GMT
    William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...