Cargo plane crashes at Riyadh airport

A cargo plane belonging to the German airline Lufthansa has crashed at Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport.

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A cargo plane belonging to the German airline Lufthansa crashed at Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport in Saudi Arabia today, apparently after a fire broke out in the hold. The plane's pilot and co-pilot were hospitalised after the crash with minor injuries, the airline said, and both are "in good health". Reports said the aircraft broke into two on landing after smoke was seen coming from the plane as it approached the airport.

Khalid al Khaibri, a spokesman for the Saudi civil aviation authority told AFP, that the pilot reported a fire in the cargo hold of the aircraft to ground officials before landing. "The captain informed the tower that there was fire in the back of the plane," he said. The airport immediately put ground rescue and fire teams on alert Civil defence teams succeeded in putting out the fire after the crash, and flights at the airport were resumed a short while after the incident. An airport ground services official said the aircraft "is totally finished." The Lufthansa Cargo MD-11, flying 80 tonnes of freight from Frankfurt to the Saudi capital, crashed at 11:38am. The airline said that it was "not yet known exactly what type of freight it was or which customers are affected. The cause of the accident is still being investigated. At the moment, we have no further details."

The MD-11 has previously been involved in some seven crashes that have involved the total destruction of the aircraft, including two last year: a FedEx Express flight crashed at Narita International Airport, Japan in March while landing in windy conditions, and an an Avient Aviation MD-11F crashed on take-off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on a flight to Kyrgyzstan in November with the loss of three lives. * with AFP