VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The crash of a civilian plane at an airfield in Afghanistan killed all seven people aboard.
The plane crashed just after taking off Monday from Bagram Air Field, north of the Afghan capital. The U.S.-led military coalition said it was investigating what caused the crash.
The Boeing 747-400 was carrying vehicles and other cargo, according to an official of Orlando, Fla.-based National Airlines.
Those killed were four pilots, two mechanics and a load master, who is responsible for making sure that the weight and balance of the cargo is appropriate, said company Vice President Shirley Kaufman.
A story on the International Business Times website said all seven killed on the flight were Americans.
Kaufman didn’t release the victims’ names but says their families have been notified.
“It’s a very, very hard time,” Kaufman told the Detroit Free Press. “We’re concerned for the families of our colleagues that we’ve lost. That’s our primary focus.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority are investigating the crash, she said.
National Airlines was based until recently at Michigan’s Willow Run Airport, west of Detroit in Wayne County’s Van Buren Township. It is a subsidiary of National Air Cargo and carries cargo both commercially and for the military, Kaufman said. She said it employs about 225 people.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the crash, but the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement to The Associated Press: “Taliban’s claims are false.”
It said there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time. Capt. Luca Carniel, a coalition spokesman, said the aircraft crashed from a low altitude right after takeoff.