Photo courtesy of James Spann with ABC 33/40 on Twitter
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press/National Transportation Safety Board.
Investigators work near a section of debris of a UPS Airbus A300 cargo plane after it crashed on approach at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport this morning Wednesday Aug 14, 2013 in Birmingham, Ala. Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
A Moore County woman was one of two pilots killed in a fiery plane crash early Wednesday morning in Birmingham, Alabama.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the United Parcel Service cargo plane crashed around 6 a.m. on approach to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
There were two pilots on board. Both were killed. UPS has not released the names of the two pilots.
One has been identified by family members as Shanda Fanning, 37, of Lynchburg.
Her brother-in-law, Wes Fanning, told the Associated Press that she had been flying since she was teenager.
He added that officials contacted her mother and UPS representatives were with the family Wednesday.
Lynchburg is a small town about 75 miles south of Nashville and people in the community were saddened to hear the news.
The town's mayor, Sloan Stewart, said when he woke up Wednesday morning and turned on the television, he couldn't believe it.
"I was in shock. I didn't think about it happening so close to home," he stated.
Fanning was Stewart's cousin.
She was well known in the community and often spoke at local schools about her career.
"The biggest thing I always remember about Shanda is her absolute passion for flying. When most young people dreamed about their first car, she had an airplane," said Bob Yasui, a family friend.
Others say Fanning was the type of person who never met a stranger; she was outgoing and friendly.
"I am really going to miss her. She used to come into the grocery store where I worked and she was always smiling. I've never seen her not smile. She'll be missed," said April Alexander.
Fanning leaves behind a husband, family and friends.
The plane, an Airbus A300-600F jet, was en route from Louisville, Kentucky when it crashed in a grassy field on the outskirts of the Birmingham airport.
The crash, which toppled a tree and a utility pole and rained metal into the front yards of nearby residents, didn't affect operations at the airport.
It was not immediately clear what caused the jet to crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will spend several days investigating.
Initial investigations by the NTSB found the pilots did not make any stress calls.
UPS issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying they were reaching out to support the crew members' families.
"All of us at UPS extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these two crew members," Scott Davis, UPS Chairman and CEO, said. "Our efforts now are primarily focused on helping the families."
He continued, "We place utmost importance on the safety of our employees, our customers and the communities we serve. UPS is participating in the investigation."
The president of the Independent Pilots Association, Captain Robert Travis, said in a statement that the pilots were dear friends, and their thoughts are also with the victims families.
"IPA is working in full coordination and cooperation with UPS, the NTSB and local authorities," Travis added.
UPS said the plane was carrying a variety of cargo.