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Bodies removed from crashed cargo plane; Yeager Airport closed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Yeager Airport will be closed until sometime Saturday afternoon after a cargo plane crashed Friday morning claiming the lives of both crew members.

“The plane came in hot,” according to Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper. The Short 330 twin-engine plane was coming into Charleston from Louisville at about 6:50 a.m.

The plane is owned by Air Cargo Carriers, a contractor for UPS. The pilot and co-pilot, a man and woman, are both from West Virginia and operate out of Yeager, Yeager Airport Manager Terry Sayre said.

The bodies were removed from the wreckage early Friday afternoon. They were brought down the hill toward Barlow Drive near the Elk River. Sayre said the crash site was near an access road that was built following the 2015 hillside collapse at Yeager.

The National Weather Service said winds were calm and there was valley fog, no fog was reported at the airport at the time of the crash.

“I viewed two videos,” Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango said. “It came in at a very strange angle. It hit on its left wing first and the landing gear detached and it careened over the hillside.”

The left wing was in the grass just off the runway.

Salango said a woman who lives in the Lincoln County community of Yawkey called the airport and reported hearing an aircraft making a strange noise and going very fast. Sayre said that would have been the flight path for a plane approaching Yeager from Louisville.

There was no communication to the tower that the airplane was having problems, officials said.

Carper told MetroNews the pilot was “very familiar” with landing at Yeager.

The plane took off from Louisville with 310 gallons of fuel, more than enough to reach Yeager. There was no explosion at impact. The fuel tanks for the Short 330 are on top of the fuselage. Some of the fuel did leak a the site. The state DEP and West Virginia American Water Company were contacted about the possibility of the spill reaching the Elk River. The spill was contained and didn’t reach the river, officials confirmed Friday afternoon.

The “Go Team” from the National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Friday afternoon it would arrive in Charleston before dark Friday.

The airport will be closed until the NTSB gives clearance to reopen the runway, Sayre said.

“There were a couple of small gouges in the runway that we’ll have to patch and we have the ability to do that in-house. So we can take care of that ourselves first thing in the morning (Saturday) when they (the NTSB) gets here,” Sayre said.

The plane approached from the Charleston end of Runway 5 and was not impacted the emergency landing area that was damaged in the 2015 hillside collapse.

Sayre said the airport was doing all it could to help passengers impacted by the flights canceled Friday.

“Some of them are being rebooked out of Huntington. We’re just trying to work with airlines to help people especially if someone got stranded here,” Sayre said.

Air Cargo Carriers is located in Milwaukee. The company’s website it “has been synonymous with dependability and quality in the air freight industry since 1986. As the company has grown, so has the number of industries it serves.”



This is the kind of cargo plane that crashed at Yeager Airport.



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