|Subj:||Two Americans Among Five Dead in UK Plane Crash|
|Date:||1/4/02 12:30:32 PM Pacific Standard Time|
January 4 12:23 PM ET
Two Americans Among Dead in UK Plane Crash
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Five people, including two
U.S. businessmen, were killed on Friday when a transatlantic
executive jet crashed at Birmingham airport in central
England, officials said.
The plane, a twin-engine Challenger Aircraft jet carrying
three crew and two passengers, crashed on take-off at 7:07
AGCO Corp, an agricultural equipment manufacturer based in
Duluth, Georgia, said its president and chief executive John
Shumejda and senior vice president for sales and marketing
Ed Swingle had died in the crash.
Witnesses said one of the plane's wings had clipped the
ground and it flipped over. The plane was said to be on fire
before it hit the ground and it exploded in a fireball.
"There was a thick black plume of smoke rising to about 100
feet. It just came belting up," witness Joan Hood told BBC
The charred wreckage of the plane was left lying upside down
next to the runway.
A West Midlands Fire Brigade spokesman said it appeared the
plane had not got airborne when it crashed. He said it was
too early to tell what had caused the accident.
Air accident investigators were on their way to the scene.
A spokesman for Birmingham airport, the UK's fifth-largest,
said the Challenger aircraft, capable of carrying up to 20
people, was a private or corporate jet heading for Bangor,
Maine, where it was scheduled to refuel.
Birmingham airport is expected to be closed for some time
and passengers were advised to contact their airlines, the
British Airways said inbound flights from Edinburgh, Berlin
Hanover and Gothenburg were being diverted to Manchester or
East Midlands Airports. A flight to Aberdeen was canceled
and other flights were suspended.
Challenger executive jets are made by Canadair, a subsidiary
of Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace, a unit of Bombardier
Inc. It is the world's third-largest civil aircraft maker.