Dubai: An American cargo plane crashed on Friday evening near the Emirates Road and Al Ain highway, killing two crew members.
Witnesses said the plane came down near Dubai Silicon Oasis. Official sources told Gulf News it crashed in a military camp. A statement by the General Civil Aviation Authority said two crew members had been killed and the plane crashed in an uninhabited area between Emirates Road and Al Ain highway.
The plane belonged to United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's biggest courier service. In a statement UPS said: "A UPS cargo plane has been involved in an accident in Dubai. At approximately 12 p.m. EST, (8pm UAE) UPS Flight 6 from Dubai, UAE, to Cologne, DE, a 747-400 with two crew members on board crashed on takeoff."
Some witnesses said they had heard a very loud explosion near Global Village and that the plane had caught fire soon after the crash. Other witnesses said the plane turned into a ball of fire while in the air. Some reports indicate that the pilot of the Boeing 747 lost altitude and crashed shortly after. A huge plume of smoke filled the sky.
A Gulf News reader said they were a group of friends who were swimming in their roof-top pool when one friend asked why planes fly so low over Silicon Oasis. It just missed a tower on a nearby building, followed by a huge explosion.
"I watched it from my balcony. I was shivering watching the plane fly by only a few metres away from our building in Dubai Silicon Oasis. It was losing altitude and I thought that it would hit the last building in our zone. The pilot avoided all buildings and landed across Al Ain-Dubai Road. The moment it touched the ground the flames were as high as a 30-storey building. As I looked on, the plane was all black and there were no lights," said Tasnim Mohammad, a Gulf News reader.
"I live in Dubai Silicon Oasis and was returning home from a run when the plane flew right over the road. It was obvious it was going to crash. The landing gear was not deployed, but the engines were still working. The plane exploded on impact," said Neil Bishop, another reader.
"Maybe quite a few people unknowingly owe their lives to the pilot's final actions," Dominic Ellis commented on Gulf News online.
Traffic on the Al Ain Road came to a near standstill. There were no flight disruptions at Dubai International Airport.
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"Safety is a key priority for UPS," said its Airline and International Operations Manager Bob Lekites. "This incident is very unfortunate and we will do everything we can to find the cause," said Lekites. "Our thoughts go out to the crew members involved in the incident and their families.
"We will also release more information as it becomes available, in cooperation with government authorities. We will not speculate about the cause," the UPS statement said.
Police cordoned off the area while ambulances were rushing to and from the scene.
There has been no flight disruption at Dubai International Airport.
In October 2009, a Sudanese Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed in the desert outside Dubai, killing six crew members.
An eye witness has confirmed to Gulf News that the American cargo plane crashed in the military base. A photographer by profession, the Arab man lives nearby. He said: "It was after the sun had set and was dark. There was a lot of noise and I rushed to the window. I saw the plane coming down rapidly; it burst into a fireball and fell inside the military area. I recorded the time - it was 7.39pm."
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