updated 11/19/2010 3:24:40 PM ET 2010-11-19T20:24:40

A small plane carrying an organ for transplant crashed and burst into flames at England's Birmingham Airport Friday, injuring two people and disrupting dozens of flights, police and airport authorities said.

The organ, a liver, was rescued from the wreck and rushed to a hospital where it was due to be transplanted into a patient.

West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Matt Markham said the privately owned Cessna made a "hard landing" and caught fire just after 3:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. EST).

He said visibility in the area, 120 miles north of London was "appalling" because of thick fog.

Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance said the 58-year-old pilot was airlifted to a hospital with chest, abdomen and pelvic injuries. He was in serious but stable condition. A second man, in his 30s, was being treated for burns and back pain.

Markham said the liver was rushed to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital under police escort. Staff there said it had been medically assessed and would be transplanted "shortly."

Birmingham Airport's runway was closed after the accident, with departures canceled and incoming flights diverted to other airports.

The airport said it would remain closed until Saturday morning at the earliest.

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