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Two crew die as Belfast-built plane crashes at US airport

By Claire McNeilly

A Belfast-built plane has crashed in the United States, killing a man and a woman.

Investigators from Shorts, which made the twin-engined Short 330 twin-engine turboprop, are helping the US authorities investigate the crash.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed as their plane went off the edge of a steep, wooded hillside in Charleston, west Virginia, at the weekend.

The Air Cargo Carriers plane had departed from Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday.

A federal investigator said the propeller-driven plane's crew made no distress call before the small aircraft landed hard enough to gouge the runway and break into pieces.

There was no fire, but the emergency services had to cut their way through thick brush and trees from above and below to reach their bodies.

Mike Plante, a spokesman at Yeager Airport, which serves West Virginia's capital, said it was "difficult terrain to negotiate". He added that the plane had departed from Louisville at 5.43am and arrived at the Charleston airport at 6.51am.

He also said officials have no idea why the plane crashed. The weather in Charleston was sunny and clear.

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