Video: Cargo plane crashes near Bogota

updated 7/7/2008 11:13:27 AM ET 2008-07-07T15:13:27

A flower-laden U.S. cargo plane headed for Miami crashed near the Colombian capital on Monday, killing two people on the ground, according to local authorities.

None of the plane’s U.S. crew was reported killed, although a hospital director said one was in serious condition.

It was the second time in about six weeks that a Boeing 747 flown by Kalitta Air of Ypsilanti, Michigan, has crashed.

The plane’s crew told air traffic controllers that one of the engines was on fire and radio contact was lost seconds later, said Donald Tascon, deputy director of Colombia’s civil aviation agency, to RCN radio. The cause was under investigation.

Madrid village Mayor Diego Humberto Sicard said the plane hit a ranch roughly 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Bogota at 3:50 a.m. (4:50 a.m. EDT; 0850 GMT). The two people who died, Pedro and Edwin Suarez, lived in a small house on a ranch, the mayor said.

Kalitta Air Vice President Pete Sanderlin told The Associated Press that the plane, with eight crewmembers aboard, had stopped in Bogota to pick up flowers and was scheduled to land in Miami at about 8 a.m.

“We think all of the crew on board had various injuries, from slight to more serious injuries,” Sanderlin said. “We don’t know the extent of it yet.”

Two crew members were treated at a local hospital, while six others were sent to the Central Police Hospital in Bogota. The director there, Col. Nader Lujan, told RCN radio that one, identified as Josephy Kendall, was in serious condition.

Sanderlin said Kalitta was operating the plane for another airline, Centurion Air Cargo. A woman who answered the phone at Centurion’s office in Miami referred questions to Kalitta.

Another Kalitta-operated Boeing 747 crashed and broke apart in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25 while pilots tried to abort a takeoff, according to U.S. and Belgian authorities. All five crewmembers survived, though four were slightly injured.

It was also the second time in little more than 24 hours that a cargo line based at Willow Run Airport near Ypsilanti suffered a crash in Latin America.

A DC-9-15 freighter operated by USA Jet Airlines crashed early Sunday while nearing the airport in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The pilot of the plane, 46-year-old Lon McIntosh of Middletown, Ohio, died in the crash, according to his family and Mexican officials.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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