Monday, July 07, 2008

Kalitta Air Boeing 747 freighter crash in Colombia

Kalitta Air B747 crash in ColombiaA Boeing 747-209B freighter (registration number N714CK) operated by Michigan-based cargo carrier Kalitta Air has crashed in Colombia. The accident, which happened before dawn on July 7, 2008, killed several people on the ground. All eight crew members on board are reported to have survived, and were taken to a nearby hospital, according to an AFP news report. AFP, quoting a local police official, said that four of the crew "were out of danger" while the rest were being treated for serious injuries.

The accident happened not long after the aircraft's departure from Bogota's El Dorado Airport (BOG). AFP quoted Colombian Civil Aviation official Donald Tascon, who said, "The plane crashed when it was trying to return to Bogota after reporting a fire in one engine."

The aircraft, which was en route from Bogota to Miami, crashed and broke up near the Colombian village of Madrid, located some 25 km northwest of Bogota. The aircraft was completely destroyed. A video of the accident site posted on CNN shows wreckage scattered over a wide area. Another video, posted to the Spanish language news website El Tiempo, shows an extensive fire at the accident scene. Reuters has published a collection of still photos of the Kalitta Air accident in Colombia.

Today's crash was the second accident -- and the second hull loss -- in less than two months involving a Kalitta Air B747 freighter. On May 25, 2008, a Kalitta Air B747 overran a runway at Brussels following a rejected take-off. No one was killed or seriously injured in that accident, but the aircraft was destroyed.

[Photo Source]

UPDATE July 7, 2008: The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has just issued an advisory stating that a team of investigators is being dispatched to assist the Government of Colombia in its investigation of this morning's crash. The NTSB Advisory mentioned that the accident aircraft was operated by Kalitta as a wet lease to "Centurion Airlines" -- likely a reference to Miami-based Centurion Air Cargo.