The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

August 14, 2013

Officials: UPS cargo jet crashes in Tarrant.; 2 killed

(Continued)

At 7 a.m. Wednesday, conditions in the area were rainy with low clouds. About 45 minutes later, smoke was still rising from the scene, where a piece of the plane's white fuselage lay near a blackened area on the ground.

"The plane is in several sections," said Birmingham Mayor William Bell, who was briefed on the situation by the city's fire chief. "There were two to three small explosions, but we think that was related to the aviation fuel."

"As we work through this difficult situation, we ask for your patience, and that you keep those involved in your thoughts and prayers," Atlanta-based UPS said in a statement.

Previously, a UPS cargo plane crashed on Sept. 3, 2010, in the United Arab Emirates, just outside Dubai. Both pilots were killed. Authorities there blamed the crash on its load of between 80,000 to 90,000 lithium batteries, which are sensitive to temperature. Investigators found that a fire on board likely began in the cargo containing the batteries.

The Airbus A300 that had taken off from Louisville, Ky., crashed around 5 a.m. CDT about a half-mile from the runway, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

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

The A300 was Airbus' first plane, and the type first flew in 1972. American Airlines retired its last A300 in 2009, and no U.S. passenger airlines have flown it since then. Airbus quit building them in 2007 after making a total of 816 A300 and A310s.

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