UPS cargo plane crashes in Dubai, killing two

A UPS cargo plane crashed shortly after take-off outside Dubai, killing two crew members abroad, according to officials. 

The state news agency WAM, quoting the General Civil Aviation Authority, reported that the “bodies of two pilots” had been found at the scene, but UPS did not confirm that.

The plane went down inside an Emirati airbase near a busy highway intersection about 10 miles southeast of Dubai’s international airport. WAM said the crash occurred in an unpopulated desert area, suggesting there may not have been casualties on the ground.

Smoke rose from the crash site, which was shielded from the highway by walls. Migrant labourers from a nearby camp gathered along the roadside to watch.

UPS, an Atlanta-based company, the world’s largest shipping company, dispatched an investigation team to the scene.

A Dubai-based spokesman for the General Civil Aviation Authority, Ismail al-Baroushi, said an investigation was under way, but it was “too early to speculate” on the cause of the crash. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz also said the US agency will send a team of experts to Dubai to assist with the investigation.

A witness said he was sitting on the balcony of his home when he heard a “big boom.”

“There was fire and too much smoke,” he said.

UPS planes have been involved in four accidents since 1985, none fatal, according to an aviation safety database. The most recent involved a fire that broke out in the cargo hold of a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 en route from Atlanta to Philadelphia. Smoke was billowing from the plane when it landed, but the three pilots were able to evacuate safely, said the database, maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation of Alexandria, Va.