Smoke from the scene of the UPS plane crash in Dubai

Last Sept. 3, two crew members aboard the United Parcel Service (UPS) Boeing 747-400 cargo plane crash were killed. According to authorities, the plane crashed shortly after takeoff into a military compound near Dubai’s airport. The plane was en route to Cologne in Germany.

A nearby resident claimed “I saw the plane suddenly dive down into the base and heard a huge explosion.”

A government source familiar with the initial crash report said the plane had taken off from Dubai Airport and was diverted to a military compound after reporting trouble.

A witness stated that the UPS B747-400 aircraft caught fire, hit a covered parking lot, then bounced and crashed. The source also said that there were no injuries on the ground. Smoke was billowing from the base.

The United Arab Emirates civil aviation authority said the bodies of the two crew members were recovered. Saif al-Suwaidi, general manager of civil aviation, told Dubai TV that flights had not been affected at Dubai’s airport, the busiest in the Middle East. Suwaidi stated that “The pilot reported fire and smoke in the cockpit and was instructed to return to Dubai. After failing to land at the airport, the plane disappeared from radar screens and was found later (at the crash site).”

Boeing said it would send a team to provide technical support to the investigation upon invitation from the authorities. Also, GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said the plane was running GE CF6-80C2 engines. GE said it is sending investigators to the scene.

“It is unusual to lose an aircraft on take-off, particularly once airborne. Crashes in this phase of flight are not common. Without more information it is difficult to speculate what happened,” said Paul Hayes, director of air safety at UK-based aviation consultancy Ascend. Both UPS and the Boeing 747-400 have relatively good safety records, he added.


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