24-hours later: Many questions remain in UPS plane crash - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

24-hours later: Many questions remain in UPS plane crash

A large piece of the wreckage smolders. (Photo: NTSB) A large piece of the wreckage smolders. (Photo: NTSB)

It has been over 24 hours since a UPS cargo plane went down near the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and a lot of questions are still unanswered.

Investigators are on the scene and have been working around the clock to get those questions answered. The 26 member NTSB team will center their investigation at the crash site, before spreading out in to the neighboring areas.

Robert Sumwalt with the NTSB says crews will focus on evidence that may disappear as time goes by

"We are just here to collect perishable evidence. The perishable information which, in my opinion, the information that goes away with the passage of time," said Sumwalt.

Crews will be sifting through wreckage in search of voice recorders and black box which, according to the NTSB, are located in the back of the plane. At this time, the remains of the rear of the plane are too hot for crews to search through. An effort to cool the section must be completed before the recovery of the black boxes can occur.

The remains of the plane will be gathered by investigators and, literally, put back together in a plane hangar. To do this, investigators will collect not only the pieces of the plane at the crash site, but will have to collect debris that is littered about the nearby neighborhood.

Barbara Benson lives near the airport and has debris on her property. Benson believes the plane hit the tree line, and nearly missed her home. She compares the aftermath to that of a natural disaster.

"All you got to do is just look. Just look. That's a part of it. That's a part of it," said Benson, pointing out pieces from the crash in her yard.

While Benson is still processing what happens, she says she is lucky to be alive. It is the same sentiment shared by many others living near the airport. Neighbors on Treadwell Road say it is tragic that two pilots lost their lives, but they fear a more devastating crash could happen in the future. Some believe large planes approaching the runway fly too close to the ground. One neighbor we spoke with says she has called city and airport officials to complain. After Wednesday's crash, many more have new questions to ask.

"What is the plan the airport has about taking off and landing in our community?" said Community President Robert Walker. "For a long time, we were under the impression a plane of this size wouldn't be flying in this area."

"I would think that would be something that the Airport Authority would address with citizens whether that's the correct procedure," said Birmingham City Council member Maxine Parker, who is also with the Birmingham Airport Authority.

Parker says she is not aware of complaints about planes flying too low. She does say if any procedures are violated, they will be addressed.

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