News reports are indicating that a Sudanese Boeing 707 cargo plane with six persons on board crashed and burned on take-off from Sharjah International Airport (IATA:SHJ, ICAO:OMSJ) in the United Arab Emirates around 15:50 local. The Boeing 707 crashed about two kilometres from the airport soon after taking off from Sharjah to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
Eye witnesses say the airplane veered sharply to the right after take-off and flipped before crashing a few miles past the runway. The airport is currently closed.
Officials have not disclosed the name of the airline involved, but the airport’s website had listed a Sudan Southern Air flight SOO951 scheduled to depart at 15:30.
Gulf News is reporting that Khaled Al Qassimi, director of civil aviation at Sharjah airport, said rescue personnel haven’t so far found any of the crew. Mr. Al Qassimi is also reported to have said “The place is contained. All the fires are extinguished,” “we are the picking up bits and pieces for the investigation.”
The shut down of Sharjah airport has left low cost carrier Air Arabia scrambling for alternate airports and runways for its flights.