The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

August 14, 2013

UPS jet crashes near Birmingham airport, 2 dead

— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A UPS cargo plane crashed into a field near the Birmingham airport Wednesday, killing two pilots and scattering wreckage over a rural area moments after witnesses heard the massive A300 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, which had departed from Louisville, Ky., went down 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 and appeared to topple at least one tree and utility pole.

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

UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford said the jet was carrying a variety of cargo, but 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."

Text Only
Local News
Poll

Do you think Athens-Limestone County is better prepared than in April 2011 to provide shelter from a major tornado?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee