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Cargo Plane Crashes In Spain

Tue Jan 15, 2002 9:13 am

This year started as the previous ended, unfortunatelly:

A mid-sized cargo plane carrying United Parcel Service packages crashed in northern Spain early on Monday, killing its three crew members, an executive of Ibertrans -- the company that operated the plane -- told CNN.

The Brazilian-made dual propeller Embraer 120 lost contact with the Bilbao airport tower just before its scheduled landing at 7:30 a.m. in Bilbao, en route from Madrid, where it had departed at 6:38 a.m.

Police arrived at the crash site, the Monte de Santa Maria la Vieja en Zaldibar, near Bilbao's airport, and confirmed the fatalities to Ibertrans, Jose Luis Alberquilla, the firm's chief of flight security, told CNN.

Among the victims was a director of Ibertrans named as Miguel Alemany, who was also a partner in the company, Reuters news agency said.

Alberquilla said virtually everything on board was a UPS package.

It was the first crash the company has suffered in its 10-year history. There was no immediate indication of foul play and investigators were trying to determine the cause, Alberquilla said.

The Spanish firm Ibertrans, for the past two years, has delivered UPS packages within Spain from major cities like Madrid to other destinations.

There are now five remaining Embraer 120 planes operated by Ibertrans -- one of which is for cargo and the other four are for passengers.

The weather around Bilbao Monday morning was described as foggy but with sufficient visibility to conduct the flight, Alberquilla said.