United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Flight 1354, an Airbus A300 carrying cargo, crashed on its way into Birmingham, Alabama from Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday morning. The crash created two to three explosions, a large fire and littered an empty field with debris. The two pilots, the only crew members on the plane, were killed. Their names have not been officially released.
At 5 am CDT on Wednesday, the plane clipped trees and almost hit a house as it fell. It crashed into an empty field which had been cleared of houses for an expansion of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Witnesses living in the area heard the plane’s engines as it fell, heard the explosions, saw large flashes of light and saw the large fire that started. The plane’s nose was found detached from the aircraft, and the wing and tail of the aircraft were found 80 yards away from the cockpit. According to spokesperson April Odom for Birmingham Mayor William Bell, zero distress calls were received from the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s records reveal that the aircraft had a history of past issues. Starting in 2006, its flap system previously malfunctioned, and it had issues with the air data computer. UPS has not provided a comment. The same aircraft was been produced in 2003 and logged 6,800 flights, consisting of 11,000 hours in the air. The same airplane model has been used since 1974 and was associated with 10 recent airplane crashes.
The names of the pilots have not been officially released, but they have been suggested by sources other than the authorities. The Charlotte Observer identified Cerea Beal Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina as one of the pilots, and the sheriff’s office in Lynchburg, Tennessee identified pilot Shanda Fanning, 37, as the other pilot.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a team of 26 people to investigate the crash. They have not yet been able to recover the plane’s recorder, which is located in the tail where the fire created extensive damage. As of now, the wreckage is still too hot to get to the recorder. The NTSB will also hold a conference for the media at 4 pm CDT.
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