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UPS Plane Crashes Near Birmingham, AL Airport -- Mayor Says 2 Pilots Dead


Crashed in "open land."

A picture showing the burning wreckage. (Source: KCPQ-TV screen shot)

SBIRMINGHAM, Ala. (TheBlaze/AP) -- A UPS cargo plane crashed Wednesday morning in an open field just outside an airport in Birmingham, Ala., and local news reports mayor said both pilots have died.

A picture showing the burning wreckage. (Source: KCPQ-TV screen shot)

There were no homes in the immediate area of the crash, said Toni Herrera-Bast, a spokeswoman for Birmingham's airport authority.

The Airbus A300 plane crashed around 5 a.m. CDT on approach to the airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The plane was en route from Louisville, Ky., Bergen said.

UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford said there were two crew members aboard the plane, and local news outlet reports mayor William Bell has said they died in the crash.

"It's a tragedy anytime you have loss of life,'' the mayor said. "I am grateful for the men and women of the police and fire departments who quickly got the scene under control."

"As we work through this difficult situation, we ask for your patience, and that you keep those involved in your thoughts and prayers," Atlanta-based UPS said in a statement.

Herrera-Bast said the plane crashed in "open land" she described as a grassy field on the outskirts of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The crash hasn't affected airport operations, she said.

Bergen said the scene is about a half-mile north of Runway 18. At 7 a.m. Wednesday, conditions in the area were rainy with low clouds.

Previously, a UPS cargo plane crashed on Sept. 3, 2010, in the United Arab Emirates, just outside Dubai. Both pilots were killed. Authorities there blamed the crash on its load of between 80,000 to 90,000 lithium batteries, which are sensitive to temperature. Investigators found that a fire on board likely began in the cargo containing the batteries.

This post has been updated.

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