Dubai: Pilots and other aviation professionals are debating the cause of the Sudanese cargo plane crash as an airport official said the plane's load was within permissible limits.

Six crew members of a Khartoum-bound Sudan-ese plane crashed soon after taking off from Sharjah airport on Wednesday. The Boeing 707 belonging to Azza Air was leased to Sudan Airways.

Pilots operating out of Sharjah and elsewhere in the UAE have been discussing the crash on an online forum called the Professional Pilots Rumour Network.

One poster said the crash could have been caused by a problem in the flaps, which help circulate air around the wings for the plane to climb or descend.

Another poster, said to be a pilot who flies out of Sharjah International Airport, said he saw the Sudan Air plane taxi out while he was being driven to the aircraft he was about to fly.

"It looked pretty nice," he said. "Of course a nice paint job doesn't say much about the technical status."

He then wrote: "The airport authorities found quite a few aircraft parts on the runway [after the crash], so the sequence of events probably started during take off. The field was closed for an hour or so while they collected all the stuff."

The ill-fated plane crashed approximately two kilometres from the airport, officials said on Wednesday.

The poster also alleged hearing that fuel had been leaking from the plane before takeoff.

"Our fueller had also fuelled the 707, and said it was leaking fuel from several places on the wing," he wrote.

A poster called "mirdif" wrote: "Local rumour is that a flap may have detached somehow."

Eyewitnesses told Gulf News earlier they saw "something fall off the plane" during takeoff.

A poster under the name Speedbake claimed to have seen smoke coming out of one engine before the plane crashed.

However, Naresh Gupta, an aviation engineer, speculated that the reason was most likely because of incorrectly placed goods.

"We see this a lot in cargo planes. If the plane was loaded with the centre of gravity out of balance, there is no way the engine would have been able to lift the aircraft. I think this is what happened [in this case]."

The fact the aircraft was a Boeing 707 did not matter, according to Gupta, who ruled out the age of the aeroplane as a fatal factor.

Loss of engine power

Captain Kanwar Hayat, a flight safety expert based in Al Ain, agreed with Gupta.

He recounted a conversation he had with another pilot, who did not want to be named, stating the reason for the crash may have been a loss of engine power.

"My friend saw the plane immediately lose control after lift-off, then banking right to hit the ground and perish. One or two engines on the right side may have been lost… with the heavy load, the pilot may not have been able to control the plane."