A United Postal Service cargo plane crashed early this morning in Birmingham, Alabama. It then exploded, split into parts, and now two people are dead.
Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said officials are still gathering details.
“The accident occurred about 6 a.m., as U.P.S. Flight 1354, which was en route from Louisville, Ky., made its descent toward Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, about five miles northeast of downtown Birmingham,” she said.
The twin-engine plane ripped in half just after it hit the ground. C.W. Mardis, a fire marshal with Birmingham Fire and Rescue, said the rear section of the aircraft caught fire and it took more than an hour to put out the flames. He said because of the way the wreckage was laid out over the landscape, there must have been more than one explosion after impact.
Officials from the National Transportation and Safety Board say they are reportedly launching an investigation as soon as possible. Mitch Nichols, president of U.P.S, says he cares very deeply for the families of the people who were lost.
“This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved,” he said.
It isn’t U.P.S’ first accident in recent years. The global packaging giant was investigated by the General Civil Aviation Authority just a few years ago after a plane crash in the United Arab Emirates. U.P.S spokesman, Malcolm Berkley says the company has always been proactive when it comes to any potential danger. Roger Travis, the union president of the Independent Pilot’s Association says there is still a lot of work to be done.
“The crew in Dubai reported a fire about 22 minutes into the flight and tried to return to the airport to land. But smoke obscured the pilot's view of flight-control instruments and radios. The captain's oxygen supply stopped working five minutes after the initial fire warning, at about 21,000 feet in the air, leaving him incapacitated for the rest of the flight.”
The cause of the United Emirates crash was reportedly from failed cargo lithium batteries. It is not yet known what caused the crash in Alabama.