Cargo plane goes off runway in West Virginia; 2 killed

Part of a cargo plane lays on the ground following a fatal crash at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W. Va., Friday, May 5, 2017. The plane contracted by UPS went off the runway and over a hillside at the West Virginia airport Friday morning, an airport official said. (AP Photo/Ben Queen)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A cargo plane contracted by UPS went off the runway and over a steep, wooded hillside Friday at a West Virginia airport, killing the pilot and co-pilot, an airport official said.

Nearly two dozen emergency vehicles lined the runway as emergency crews were trying to reach the crash site from above and below, Yeager airport spokesman Mike Plante said.

“It’s difficult terrain to negotiate,” Plante said.

The FAA said on its website that Yeager Airport was closed and wasn’t expected to reopen until Saturday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is en route to investigate.

The Air Cargo Carriers plane had departed from Louisville, Kentucky, at 5:43 a.m. and arrived at the Charleston, West Virginia, airport at 6:51 a.m., Plante said. He said the plane was a small, twin-engine turboprop.

Plante said officials have no idea why the plane, which made regular runs to the airport, crashed. The weather in Charleston was sunny and clear.

News outlets quoted Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper as saying the plane came in sideways, struck the runway early and rolled down the hill.

UPS said in a statement that the company was aware of an incident at the airport involving a small feeder aircraft carrying UPS packages, but said it had no details to share.