The plane that crashed at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport early Monday morning was a cargo plane contracted by FedEx. The two pilots who were attempting to land the plane just after 4:30 Tuesday morning are now out of the hospital.
Before dawn in frozen temperatures, two pilots miraculously walked away from a crashed Fed Ex plane. The 26-year-old female pilot is from Tacoma, Washington. Her co-pilot is a 52-year-old male from Portland, Oregon.
LPSIA Airport Director James Loomis says the wreckage left behind a trail of fuel. When asked if that is believed to be what caused the fire Loomis replied, "Sure it did, making contact with the ground breaking off fuel in the wing tank and the heat caused the fire," Loomis said.
Loomis says a crash fire unit rescue team responded first, followed by the Lubbock Fire Department. He says firefighters had the blaze out within minutes and adds there was no indication of an emergency prior to the crash. "As far as the airport goes the conditions were acceptable and, like I said, it crashed way short of its intended touch down," Loomis said.
Here's what Loomis estimates happened; planes typically touch down about a thousand feet into the runway, before coming to a peaceful stop. However, Loomis says the FedEx cargo plane never made it that far and crashed between two and three hundred feet before the runway ever began. "It bounded up onto what we call a blast pad which is the end of the runway, ran through some lights, skidded through the runway," Loomis added.
As for what caused the crash, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials are expected in Lubbock Tuesday evening to start answering those questions.
According to Loomis, the plane was coming from the Fort Worth Alliance Airport, a FedEx hub. A FedEx representative told NewsChannel 11 the plane was carrying 7300 pounds of freight. They also said the company contracted the aircraft through Empire Airways. Late Tuesday afternoon we called and left a message with Empire Airways and are still awaiting a call back.
As of Tuesday evening, we do not know what types of cargo were on the plane, but customers who have concerns that their package possibly on onboard should call 1-800-GO-FedEx. You will need your tracking number. FedEx says their claims department will work with shippers to figure out what to do to about destroyed packages.
Meanwhile Loomis says the plane will remain where it is for the next few days while the NTSB continues their investigation.
Plane Crash at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport
NewsChannel 11 is continuing to follow a plane crash Tuesday at approximately 4:40 a.m. in a freezing mist.