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July 27, 2010

Lufthansa cargo plane crashes in Riyadh

Filed under: Incidents — aerotowfeeq @ 8:21 pm
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Image: Cargo plane accident in Riyadh

(COURTESY AEROTOWFEEQ.IN )

The crash split the aircraft in two on landing at 11:38 a.m. local time and its cargo were gutted by fire and mangled with the wreckage of the plane.

Christoph Meier, Lufthansa’s head of corporate communications for the Middle East, said the MD-11 coming from Frankfurt, Germany, was “fully damaged” on landing.

“An investigation has been launched into crash of this cargo flight LH8460,” he added.

Michael Goentgens, a spokesman for Lufthansa’s cargo division in Germany, said the cargo plane was carrying 90 tons of unspecified cargo.

Airport officials said the plane’s German pilot and co-pilot were taken to a nearby military hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Kahlid Al-Khaibari, a spkesman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), said the plane was cleared for final approach and was headed toward the airport at about 11:30 a.m. when the pilot reported to KKIA ground officials that there was a fire in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

Rescuers and firefighters immediately rushed to the wreckage after the plane crashed.

It was not clear if investigators have found the aircraft’s flight data recorder or fire recorder.

Airport workers said that they watched in horror as the billowing tail of the aircraft caused sparks as it was dragged along the runway. “The whole aircraft then either ripped or fell off,” said one eye witness. He said that the plane just seemed to blow up.

Transportation safety investigators from Germany will be examining the cause of the crash, said an official. Asked whether the load of the cargo or weather conditions caused the crash, an airline official said “there was nothing to indicate the plane was too heavy.” He also noted that the weather was “good with clear sky” in Riyadh at the time of the accident.

The plane’s owner, Lufthansa Cargo, an airline subsidiary of Lufthansa AG, is an international air freight and logistics company operating worldwide services.

Lufthansa Cargo does not only offer space on its own freighters, but also has access to the freight capacities of more than 300 Lufthansa passenger aircraft.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. Together with its partners Lufthansa services around 410 destinations. With over 722 aircraft, it has the third-largest passenger airline fleet in the world when combined with its subsidiaries.

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