Two pilots died in a UPS jumbo cargo plane crash early Wednesday morning just outside a Birmingham, Ala., airport, officials said.
A UPS spokesman confirmed to that the plane was a UPS A-300 Airbus, tail number N155UP, with two crew members aboard. The flight originated in Louisville, Ky., and crashed upon its approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew," the spokesman said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Associated Press that the plane crashed before dawn. Debris was still smoldering and the nose of the plane was detached from the body.
The plane crashed in an isolated field outside the airport's perimeter fence and a white plume of smoke was seen rising from the site. Teams of emergency crews responded to the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was deploying a Go-Team from Washington, D.C., to investigate the crash. The scene is about a half-mile north of Runway 18 where weather conditions 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report