Middle East

UPS cargo plane crashes in Dubai, killing two

Scene of a plane crash in Dubai, 3 September
Image caption The Boeing 747-400 crashed inside a military air base

A cargo plane has crashed at an air force base shortly after take-off from Dubai airport, killing two crew members on board, officials say.

There were no injuries on the ground and commercial air traffic was not affected, they added.

The plane was a Boeing 747 belonging to US company United Parcel Service (UPS).

A UAE official told local media the plane was diverted to the base after reporting trouble. It hit a covered car park then bounced and crashed, he said.

Smoke was seen billowing from inside the walled compound.

'Smoke and smell'

Some reports said a fire had broken out in the plane just after it took off from Dubai international airport.

The plane flew near a residential area popular with expatriates where residents saw its last desperate moments.

"I saw the explosion from my balcony and felt the blast," said Tony Meechan, a British expatriate living in Silicon Oasis, a technology park on the Emirates Road.

"There was a big fireball that lit up the full sky in orange. After that there was smoke and the smell of burning plastic.

"I'm still feeling a bit shaken up."

The plane was on its way to the company's European hub in Cologne, a spokeswoman for UPS said.

Initial reports from al-Arabiya television said the plane had hit the busy Emirates Road motorway, but later reports indicated it had not.

The United Arab Emirates civil aviation authority said the bodies of the two crew members were recovered.

UPS, the world's largest courier service, said it would "do everything" to find the cause of the crash.

In 2009 a Sudanese cargo plane crashed in the Dubai desert, killing six crew.

The company was subsequently barred from operating in the Emirates.

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