US plane crashes, snaps in two at Brussels Airport

26th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

The crash occurred as the Kalitta Air plane was trying to take off from the airport.

26 May 2008

BRUSSELS - A freight aircraft belonging to the US carrier Kalitta Air crashed on take-off at Brussels Airport on Sunday. The plane split in two.

None of the five crew on board was injured, but they were taken to hospital as a precaution.

The plane took off from the freight section of the airport Brucargo and immediately experienced difficulties. The aircraft, a Boeing 747, snapped in two at the end of the runway.

Fire fighters from Brussels, Zaventem and Vilvoorde were part of the rescue team that was at the scene in case of an explosion. The Red Cross was deployed and the provincial disaster plan was put into effect too.

Kalitta Air has services to Brussels several times a week.

Burst tire?
The plane had made a stop-over in Brussels, but disaster struck when it attempted to take to the air again.

The mayor of Zaventem Francis Vermeiren told the VRT that the pilot heard a strange noise and then put the plane back on the ground.

It ended up near a rail line causing some disruption to traffic.

The exact cause of the crash is being investigated. Several sources suggest that a burst tire triggered the accident.

The plane that was carrying out what is described as a "diplomatic flight" was bound for the gulf state Bahrain.

It had 76 tonnes of freight on board. Post made up half the freight.

Minor disruption
Rail services to Brussels Airport were disrupted for a while. Travellers had to board buses at Zaventem station.

Jan Van der Cruyssen of Brussels Airport said that there had been minor disruption of flights from the airport.

All flights are leaving, but there are some delays.

Not the first serious incident
Kalitta Air is a relatively small airline. It flies nineteen craft, all Boeing 747's.

The company founded by Conrad Kalitta is based at Willow Run Airport in Michigan and has close ties with the US armed forces.

In 1990 and 1991, during the First Gulf War the airline flew 600 support missions.

Kalitta Air experienced a first serious problem when one of its Boeings lost an engine over Lake Michigan.

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