Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 30, 2013

5 of 7 dead in Afghan plane crash from Mich.

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP (AP) — Five of seven people killed in the crash of a civilian plane at an airfield in Afghanistan were from Michigan, an official of a Florida-based air cargo company said Monday night.

The plane crashed just after taking off Monday from Bagram Air Field, north of the Afghan capital. The U.S.-led military coalition said it was investigating what caused the crash.

The Boeing 747-400 was carrying vehicles and other cargo, according to an official of Orlando, Fla.-based National Airlines.

Those killed were four pilots, two mechanics and a load master, who is responsible for making sure that the weight and balance of the cargo is appropriate, said company Vice President Shirley Kaufman.

Kaufman didn’t release the victims’ names but says their families have been notified.

National Airlines was based until recently at Michigan’s Willow Run Airport. It employs about 225 people.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the crash, but the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement to The Associated Press: “Taliban’s claims are false.”

It said there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time. Capt. Luca Carniel, a coalition spokesman, said the aircraft crashed from a low altitude right after takeoff.



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