747 Crashes on Departure from Bagram, Afghanistan

A National Airlines Boeing 747-428 cargo plane carrying military vehicles crashed on departure from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Monday, killing all seven occupants aboard the airplane.

The crash was captured on at least two dash cams of vehicles driving on a highway near the air base. The video shows the airplane on its initial climb from Bagram, with a nose-high attitude that only grew higher until the airplane began a wings-level, nose-high stall. The wings rocked briefly, the right wing dropped dramatically, and then the airplane plummeted almost directly down in a nose-high attitude until it impacted the ground with tremendous force, immediately erupting in a huge fireball, killing all on onboard instantly. There is no word on ground casualties, though the area where the 747 crashed appeared in the video to be largely void of structures. The airplane narrowly missed crashing on the highway, where many vehicles were being driven at the time of the crash.

The Taliban reportedly took responsibility for downing the airplane, but it is believed to be a false claim. Other speculation centered on weather, but the video of the accident seems to show relatively benign conditions along the airplane's flight path. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the load shifted far aft shortly after departure, which could have had exactly the effect seen in the video. One online viewer described the scene as like watching an urban apartment building fall from the sky, and another described it as the "stuff of nightmares."

Flying's general policy is not to show crash images or video. However, because this video has already been widely distributed, including by several mainstream aviation journalism outlets, we are making an exception in this case.

Be warned, however. The video is extremely disturbing and shows the entire crash sequence, including the impact.


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