A large UPS cargo plane slammed into a field near an airport in Birmingham, Ala., shortly before dawn, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday.
The pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash, Birmingham Mayor William Bell said. A spokesman for UPS said they were the only two crew members aboard the plane. There were no reports of additional injuries.
The plane, an A300 airbus en route to Birmingham from Louisville, crashed on its approach to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport at approximately 6 a.m. EST. According to flight-tracking service FlightAware.com, the flight took off from Louisville International Airport at 5:04 a.m. and was in the air for approximately 45 minutes.
According to Birmingham’s WVTM-TV, the open field where the plane went down is owned by the airport. Neighbors told the network they heard “a large boom and then several other explosions.” Another neighbor told Fox’s WAGA-TV he was awoken by a “sonic boom.”
Fire and smoke could be seen rising from a field in photos and video from local news outlets. The nose section of the plane is still intact, Bell said in an interview with CNN, but “debris is everywhere.”
A spokeswoman for the airport said the crash occurred outside the airport’s perimeter and no other flights were affected.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the crash site, the NTSB said.
“At this time, we are still determining the details of the incident,” the UPS said. “We will release more information as it becomes available. As we work through this difficult situation, we ask for your patience, and that you keep those involved in your thoughts and prayers.”
In a separate statement, UPS Airlines president Mitch Nichols called the incident “very unfortunate.”
“We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public,” Nichols said. “We will immediately engage with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation, and we will work exhaustively on response efforts.”