Cargo plane crashes in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RIYADH/FRANKFURT - A Lufthansa cargo plane crashed Tuesday as it was attempting to land in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, authorities in the kingdom said.

The pilot and co-pilot were taken to a military hospital, Saudi civil aviation authorities said, noting that they suffered only minor injuries. A spokesman for the Frankfurt-based German airline meanwhile confirmed that both crew members survived the crash and were receiving medical treatment.

A spokesman for the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation told DPA that the pilot had radioed for help as he came in for landing at the King Khaled International Airport.

“There is an ongoing investigation into the accident by specialists at the airport,” Khaled Al-Khaibari said.

He said emergency services reacted “immediately” to control the fire that had erupted on board plane before it touched the ground.

Black smoke came from the plane as it started to descend over Riyadh before it crashed and broke in half, the al-Arabiya satellite channel reported.

Photos posted on the website of the al-Riyadh newspaper appeared to indicate most of the damage was inflicted on the back of the plane.

The MD-11 cargo plane, arriving from Frankfurt, was forced to land on an auxiliary runway at the airport as the main one was not available, Saudi authorities said.

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