Some surprising findings are highlighted in the National Transportation Safety Board accident report detailing what went horribly wrong in the skies over Afghanistan in May 2013, when a National Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane climbing out after takeoff suddenly rolled over and plummeted into the ground, sending up a massive fireball.
The dramatic accident was captured on the dashcam of a passing motorist. The video went viral within hours, leading to wide ranging speculation about what might have caused the crash.
The jetliner had been carrying five MRAP U.S. military vehicles, at least one of which broke loose after liftoff. The surprising revelations in the NTSB report are that the pilots knew of a faulty strap holding the vehicle, as well as the fact that cargo had shifted on a previous flight, but they decided to take off anyway.
According to the airplane’s flight manual, it was not approved to carry five MRAPs. The NTSB said this was the first time National Airlines was called on to transport the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.
Another revelation was that the shifting MRAP slid backward and damaged the 747-400’s hydraulic systems and horizontal stabilizer, rendering the airplane uncontrollable.
Seven crew members died in the crash, which the NTSB blamed on lax standards at National Airlines as well as poor FAA oversight of cargo operators.
(Viewer discretion is advised as the video is graphic and shows the entire crash sequence.)
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