BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – UPDATE: The second pilot of the UPS cargo plane that crashed in Birmingham on Wednesday has been identified.
Reports indicate the second deceased pilot is Cerea Beal Jr.
UPS is awaiting confirmation from the coroner’s office before releasing the names of the victims.
ORIGINAL: One of the pilots who died when a UPS cargo plane crashed outside of the Birmingham-Shuttleworth International Airport was a female from Tennessee.
Shanda Fanning of Lynchburg, Tennessee, died in the plane that crashed as it approached Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
According to the Moore County (TN) Sheriff, the 37-year-old was one of the two pilots aboard the plane.
The crash occurred around 5 a.m. and caused what nearby residents describe as a “sonic boom” to be heard from across the surrounding area.
“After I heard the sonic boom and it shook my house, that alarmed me to find out what was going on,” explained Larry Smith, a resident who lives close to where the crash occurred. “But I still didn’t know. And then the second boom. That’s when I got up and I seen the smoke towards the left.”
Birmingham Mayor William Bell and Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper surveyed the scene, an area full of debris strewn across the hillside where the charred remains of the cargo plane sat.
“Horrific. Even now when you look at that plane, the parts and the debris field, it’s really tough,” Chief Roper said of the crash scene. “You think about those families of the pilots that were involved, and so our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigative team arrived in Birmingham and was taken to the scene to survey the crash.
In a press conference held Wednesday morning, NTSB spokesperson Robert Sumwalt said the team will be investigating the crash and, among other things, trying to recover the recorder box on the plane.
“The NTSB investigation will be led by an investigator in charge, Dr. Dan Bower, and he will be accompanied by experts in the area of structures, power plants, systems, air traffic control, human performance, aircraft performance and a number of other disciplines,” Sumwalt said. “The board has a very good success rate at being able to recover the recorders, so at this point I’m optimistic that we will be able to recover them.”
CBS42 will have continuing coverage of the plane crash on CBS42 News at 5, 6 and 10.
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