By Andy Sambidge and Neeraj Gangal
UPDATE 6: Experts fly out to investigate cause; plane's flight record released.
A team of Lufthansa Cargo experts have been dispatched to Riyadh to investigate why a plane crashed at the city's King Khaled International Airporton Tuesday.
Christoph Meier, Lufthansa head of corporate communications for southeast Europe, Africa and the Middle East told Arabian Business that a freight plane travelling from Frankfurt was involved in an incident at the airport in the Saudi capital at 11.38am, after landing with 80 tonnes of cargo on board.
Flight number LH8460 crashed on landing and two crew members on board, both pilots, survived the accident and are being treated for their injuries in a hospital in Riyadh, he said.
The MD-11 freighter, coded D-ALCQ, was severely damaged in the incident, a statement from the company said. The aircraft was delivered in 1993 and taken over by Lufthansa Cargo in 2004. Up to the accident in Riyadh, it had logged 10,073 take-offs and around 73,200 flying hours.
The freighter completed its last comprehensive maintenance check in June 2009, the airline said, adding that the experienced cockpit crew consisted of a 39 year-old captain and a 29 year-old first officer.
The cause of the accident is still being investigated and a team of experts from Lufthansa Cargo is on its way to Riyadh, the company added. It also said that the company had been in phone contact with both pilots.
Lufthansa Cargo is among the world’s leading cargo carriers. According to its website, in 2009, the carrier transported around 1.5 million tonnes of freight and mail and clocked up 7.4 billion revenue tonne-kilometres.
The cargo carrier "serves some 330 destinations in over 100 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines passenger aircraft and an extensive road feeder service network. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport," the Lufthansa Cargo website says.
Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary. In the 2009 financial year, it posted revenues totalling 1.9 billion euros.