Six people have died after a cargo plane crashed soon after take-off from Sharjah Airport.
The Boeing 707 crashed about two kilometres from the airport soon after taking off from Sharjah to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
The plane was owned by Sudan Air but operated by a separate Sudanese company, Azza Transport, which operates out of Khartoum.
Six crew members, all of whom were Sudanese, died when the plane caught fire soon after crashing, Brig Humaid al Hudaidi, the director general of Sharjah Police confirmed.
Among those believed to have died is the pilot of the plane, Capt Mohammed Ali, 55, who lived in Sharjah. His brother Mohammed Uthman, who also works at the airport, said: “I am sure my brother is dead. I am very sad.”
Saif al Suwaidi, the director of the General Civil Aviation Authority, said he had sent an investigation team to the site but it was too soon to speculate about the causes of the accident.
A spokesman for Sharjah Airport said the plane was “completely destroyed” in the collision.
A cargo operator in the Sharjah free zone said he saw the aftermath of the crash from about a kilometre away. The crash happened about 3.50pm, he said.
“After take-off there was a huge sound, a big explosion,” said the operator, who asked not to be named. "I saw the immediate results.
“Burning, fire, smoke, pieces of aircraft everywhere. All the men, they’re gone. I knew some of them.”
He said the plane, a Boeing 707, crashed about 300 metres from Emirates Road. None of the debris hit the road, however, he said.
He said the plane was being operated by Azza Transport, a Sudanese “cargo and transport carrier”.