Six dead in Sharjah plane crash

UPDATE 8: Sudan bound aircraft crashes near golf course shortly after take-off.
CRASH SITE: Emergency services at the site of the plane crash in Sharjah. (Getty Images)
By Joanne Bladd
Wed 21 Oct 2009 04:04 PM

An investigation has been launched after a Sudanese cargo plane with six people on board crashed near Sharjah Airport on Wednesday afternoon on its way to Khartoum.The plane was taking off from the north runway, when it crashed to the ground two miles from the airport, Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, director of civil aviation, told Arabian Business. All six crew members perished in the tragedy and their bodies have been recovered from the crash site.

The plane came down near the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club off Emirates Road at around 3.30pm. Officials said the black box had been found and that a full investigation would be carried out by the General Civil Aviation Authority.

The aircraft involved in the incident was a Azza Air flight from Sudan. Azza Transport is a cargo airline based in Khartoum, Sudan. It operates a cargo charter service throughout Africa and the Middle East and is planning services for Europe.

Martin Duff, director of the golf club, near to where the plane crashed, said: "Most of the plane came down on the other side of the road. There's a bit of debris spread on the perimeter. The golf course is not affected."

Golfer Bill Buchanan was on the course when he saw the plane hit the ground, exploding into a huge ball of flames.

"The plane was taking off and it banked to the right. It looked like it was struggling to get height and we thought it was going to land on the golf course. The pilot obviously thought he was, so he banked tightly to the right and then the plane hit ground in a ball of flames and smoke.

"We were quite shocked when we saw it. It was quite scary."

A statement from the General Civil Aviation Authority said: "GCAA confirms that an accident has taken place today involving Sudan Air Boeing 707 Flight 2241," adding that it was a "possibility" there were no survivors.

Sharjah Airport runway was shut for nearly two hours and eight flights had to be diverted to other airports due to the crash.

In 2004, an Iranian plane crashed near Sharjah airport killing at least 43 people.

The Kish Airlines flight was coming in to land when it took a nosedive after asking for an emergency landing.

If you have photos or were a witness to the crash contact joanne.bladd@itp.com

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