Two Killed in UPS Plane Crash in Alabama

Airplane accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that two people were killed on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 when a large UPS cargo plane crashed and burst into flames during its approach to an airport in Birmingham, Alabama. The two killed were the pilot and co-pilot.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell confirmed that the two killed in the fiery crash were the pilot and co-pilot, and that there were no other known casualties. The UPS plane, flight 1354, was flying from Louisville, Kentucky to Birmingham on Wednesday, where it crashed around 6 a.m. The aircraft was an Airbus A300.

Response teams with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were deployed immediately and expected to be on the scene in Alabama by midday, to inspect and investigate the wreckage. No distress calls were ever sent from the UPS plane to the Birmingham airport, and one witness, a fruit vendor who saw the incident, stated that he saw the plane explode in mid-air. He said the explosion jarred the earth, and it appeared the plane hit a power line before nose-diving to the ground.

Flames erupted almost immediately after the plane hit the ground, though fortunately it landed in a very sparsely populated area and was brought under control very quickly. Another witness said he saw two or three explosions after the initial crash, which shook his house. He lives two blocks from the crash site and though it was an earthquake.

Pictures of the scene show a field of debris around the Airbus A300, which is a wide-body jet used abundantly by UPS, FedEx and others as a regional freighter. Airbustold Reuters that it was going to provide technical assistance to NTSB investigators. It affirmed that the aircraft was sold to UPS in 2003 and had accumulated about 11,000 flight hours during an estimated 6,800 flights.

The A300 model has been involved in about ten crashes since its introduction, the most recent occurring in November 2012 in Bratislava, Slovakia. That Airbus was operated by DHL, and the crash was caused by collapsed front landing gear.

This Alabama crash comes in the wake of several others in the United States, most of them fatal. We recently reported on a small plane crash in Connecticut, which killed at least two witnesses and the pilot. A month before that, a Boeing 777 operated by Asian Airlines crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport, killing three passengers andinjuring over 180 others. Also in July 2013, a Southwest Airlines jet collapsed upon touchdown at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The accident, which involved a Boeing 737, injured eight.

In 2012, an Airbus A310 crashed in Siberia, killing all 75 passengers on board. Several families sought to file a lawsuit against the company, alleging that the pilot’s 15-year-old son was at the controls when it plummeted. The families sued Airbus, not the airline company, Aeroflot, because crash reports revealed that the aircraft lacked an instrument alarm system.

The lack of alarms left the airline staff unaware that the auto-pilot had been disengaged. The crash report confirms that the availability of an alarm system could have warned the crew of auto-pilot declutching, and would have secured a timely correction.

Similar lawsuits were filed against Airbus after a 2009 crash involving Air France Flight 447. The Airbus A330-200 departed from Rio de Janeiro and was en route to Paris when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 on board. The families then filed suit against Airbus and several other companies, including Motorola, Intel, and General Electric, alleging design and manufacturing defects in the aircraft and its components.

Airplane crash lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that these types of cases are subject to a range of laws, treaties, and regulations, making lawsuits extremely specialized and complex. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling these cases and can provide victims and their families with the answers and help they need.

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