Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kalitta Air Boeing 747 freighter crash at Brussels

Earlier today, May 25, 2008, a Boeing 747-209F aircraft (registration number N704CK) operated by Michigan-based cargo carrier Kalitta Air, overran a runway at Brussels Zaventem Airport (EBBR) after what witnesses said appeared to be a rejected takeoff. The freighter's fuselage broke apart (see video below), but there was no fire. The five crew members evacuated the aircraft using an emergency slide. None of the crew members was injured seriously, and there were no injuries reported on the ground.

According to various news reports, Kalitta Air Flight K4-207 was departing Brussels Zaventem for Bahrain around noon local time when the accident occurred. Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang, after which the aircraft overran the end of runway 02. It was not clear whether the aircraft had completed its takeoff roll and begun to rotate prior to the overrun.

The aircraft came to rest a just inside the airfield's perimeter fence, several hundred meters beyond the threshold of the runway. The fuselage split open just aft of the wings, and photos taken at the scene appear to show another break just forward of the empennage, but this has not been officially confirmed.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has dispatched at team to assist the Belgian government in its investigation of this accident. The NTSB announced:
NTSB investigator Joe Sedor has been designated as the U.S. Accredited Representative, and he will be accompanied by technical specialist in the areas of flight operations, aircraft systems, structures, and powerplants. The U.S. team will also include technical advisors from the FAA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney.

The Belgian government is leading the investigation and will release all information on its progress.
Updated information about today's accident will be posted here on Aircrew Buzz as it becomes available. [Links to updates are at the end of this post, after the video.]

A collection of still photos of the Kalitta Air crash at Zaventem Airport can be found on the Belgian website Video footage of the aftermath of the accident, from

(If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on