A Birmingham television station captured video of the crash's fiery aftermath. (Source: WVTM-TV)
This is the first picture the NTSB tweeted from the crash site. (Source: NTSB)
Emergency crews responded to the scene of the crash. (Source: WBRC)
The fiery crash lit up the pre-dawn sky near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport. (Source: WBRC)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WAVE) - A UPS pilot and co-pilot were killed when a company cargo jet crashed Wednesday morning near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport in Birmingham, Alabama on a flight that originated at the UPS hub in Louisville, Birmingham Mayor William Bell confirmed.
The plane -- an Airbus A300-600 mid-size cargo carrier -- crashed in an open field owned by the airport at 6:11 a.m. EDT, according to NBC affiliate WVTM in Birmingham. Police said no homes were affected by the crash.
National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said during a Wednesday morning news conference in Washington D.C. the plane was on approach to runway 18 at the airport when it crashed.
WVTM reported numerous explosions at the crash site, which stretches about a half-mile.
"This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved," said UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols in a written statement. He said the company had not confirmed the status of the pilots, despite Mayor Bell's statement that both people aboard the plane were killed. "We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public," Nichols continued. "We will immediately engage with the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation, and we will work exhaustively on response efforts."
Mayor Bell told NBC News there was no unusual weather before the crash, and it was unknown whether there were any mechanical issues with the plane.
Sumwalt said there would be no comment on the possible cause of the crash until his team arrived on-site in Birmingham. He expressed confidence that the plane's flight data recorders would be recovered.
Two other NTSB crews were traveling to Alabama. One of them would work with the victims' families, Sumwalt said. Family members of UPS pilots seeking information about the crash should call 800-631-0604, according to UPS's Twitter page.
According to UPS spokesperson Mike Mangeot, UPS typically has two flights to Birmingham each day: one during the day and one at night.
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