On the Wednesday morning, a UPS cargo jet was involved in an accident where it crashed on the Alabama airport’s outskirts killing 2 crew members who were on board and scattering charred wreckage and boxes across the field. Ivor Brooks, the Fire Chief for Birmingham, said that both the pilot and his co-pilot were pronounced dead at the accident scene. Brooks further added that the site had been ablaze but they managed to extinguish the fire by the late morning.
The cargo jet crashed on the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport’s outskirts in an open field as said by the spokeswoman for the Birmingham city airport authority, Toni Herrera-Bast. The crash however did not affect the operations of the airport even though it seems to have toppled a utility pole and a tree. The top of the tree had been broken and on the road, there were pieces of limbs and utility pole. The grass nearby the crash site had been blackened nearly to the bottom of the hill and there was an engine and fuselage piece that could be seen on the hill crest. One side of the hill was also pouring out white smoke.
It was not immediately known what the jet was carrying and Jeff Wafford, the spokesperson of the UPS just said that the jet was carrying an assortment of cargo. Sharon Wilson, who resides near the airport, said that she was in bed before the sunrise when she heard what was like the sputtering of the engines as the plane was going over her house. She said the plane sounded as if it had given the fuel out and they thought it was headed for the airport but there was a loud noise soon after. Jerome Sanders, another resident also said he heard the plane and could see flames just moments before it crashed.
On Wednesday morning at 7 am, the area around the crash site was rainy and it had low clouds but after about 45 minutes, the area was filled with smoke coming out of the crash scene where a fuselage piece of the plane could be seen on the ground near an area that had become dark. William Bell, the mayor for Birmingham said that the plane had been left in several sections after the crash. The mayor said there were about two to three explosions and that they might have been related to the aviation fuel. The Atlanta-based UPS, through a statement released to the press urged the people to be patient and to remember those affected as they worked through the challenging situation.
The Airbus A300 which crashed in Alabama had departed from Louisville, Kentucky and it crashed at around 5 am Central Daylight time. This crash comes about three years after another UPS cargo jet crashed in United Arabs Emirates on September 2010 killing both pilots. The authorities blamed the crash on the 80,000-90,000 lithium batteries cargo load it was carrying which are temperature sensitive. It was found out in the investigations that followed that a fire was likely to have started in the cargo where the lithium batteries were contained.