A converted Boeing 707 airliner crashed at a Middle Eastern airport on October 21st 2009, it has emerged. The aircraft in question is understood to have belonged to Sudanese cargo carrier Azza Transport, and it was in the process of taking off from the UAE’s Sharjah International Airport when the incident occurred.
The airport was subsequently shut down, and a state of emergency declared. Two hours after the crash, the closure was lifted and, during the time of the shut-down, flights due to arrive at Sharjah Airport were diverted to Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai International Airports.
Cargo Aircraft Crash
Eyewitness accounts have provided vivid descriptions of today’s cargo aircraft crash. They say the Boeing 707’s left-hand wing rose upwards as it left the runway, the aircraft flipping before striking the ground and bursting into flames.
“It was obvious the plane was about to crash and it did”, Sharjah Airport worker Nagesh Vallabhan told Gulf News. “The plane was tilted to the right - it looked like it was unbalanced and about to crash and in a few minutes it crashed to the ground and exploded. We saw flames of fire and smoke … it exploded with debris seen around the area of the crash. I am not sure but I don’t think anyone survived the crash. I honestly doubt it.”
Later reports said that none of the six crew members on board the aircraft had survived the crash.
The Boeing 707 is a four-engined passenger airliner design first introduced in the late-1950s.
The type ushered in a new, post-war age of jet-powered transatlantic travel and, at one time, was a common sights at airports the world over. Of the 1,000+ 707s that were built, approximately 60 are still in commercial service, the majority as cargo-carriers.
Azza Transport was founded 16 years ago. In 2007, it was on the receiving end of sanctions imposed by the US government in relation to Sudan’s alleged provision of weapons to Darfur rebels.