NTSB sends team to investigate UPS A300F crash

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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched a team to Birmingham, Alabama to investigate the crash of an UPS Airbus A300-600 freighter this morning.

UPS confirms that two crewmembers were on board the flight, but could not say if they survived the incident.

The incident on UPS flight 1354 from Louisville, Kentucky took place on approach into Birmingham airport at 06:11 Eastern Time (05:11 local time), says UPS. The aircraft crashed as it was on approach to runway 18.

"At this time, we have not confirmed the status of our pilots," says the carrier.

The A300, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, was registered N155UP with manufacturer serial number MSN841, says Airbus. It was delivered to UPS in 2003 and had accumulated about 11,000 flight hours in about 6,800 flights.

Airbus says it will assist in the investigations and has dispatched a team to Birmingham.

The NTSB expects its investigation team, led by senior investigator Dan Bower, to arrive in Birmingham by 12:00 today, NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt tells reporters today in a briefing at Washington National airport. An NTSB investigator from Atlanta is expected to arrive in Birmingham earlier.

Sumwalt provided no details about the possible cause of the crash. Bower will be joined by experts in aircraft structures, powerplants, systems, air traffic control and human and aircraft performance, says Sumwalt.

In a statement, UPS Airlines president Mitch Nichols says: "We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public. We will immediately engage with the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation, and we will work exhaustively on response efforts."

Additional reporting by Jon Hemmerdinger