Residents of Birmingham, Ala., were awakened by the sounds of loud explosions on Wednesday morning after a cargo jet crashed near the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
The doomed plane has been identified as a cargo plane operated by UPS (UPS) that was preparing to land at the airport after a flight from Louisville, Ky. Local authorities said that the pilot and co-pilot — the only people known to be on the plane — were both killed in the crash, CBS News notes.
Reporters on the scene said that the twin-engine Airbus jet split in two when it hit the ground. Airbus released information showing that the plane had logged 11,000 flight hours since it was manufactured in 2003.
A witness who lives in a neighborhood near the airport reported hearing airplane engines making sputtering noises just before the sound of a large explosion, presumably the initial impact. Police on the scene said there were several explosions resulting from fuel that ignited when the plane hit the ground.
Federal aviation investigators are on their way to Birmingham to examine the crash site.
Shares of UPS slipped slightly in Wednesday morning trading.