A Boeing 747-400, a Dubai-bound cargo plane, terribly crashed at about 11:20 a.m. local time a few moments after its takeoff on Monday, April 29, at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan instantly killing the 7 onboard crew members. The victims have now been identified and the weather condition that day is reportedly considered as a possible factor of the plane crash as well as a cargo shift.
The 7 American crew members who died from the plane crash were 33-year-old Jamie Brokaw from Monroe, Michigan, 51-year-old Gary Stockdale from Romulus, Michigan, 34-year-old pilot Brad Hasler from Trenton, Michigan, 37-year-old pilot Jeremy Lipka from Brooklyn, Michigan, 32-year-old first officer Rinku Summan from Canton, Michigan, 36-year-old loadmaster Michael Sheets from Ypsilanti, Michigan and 51-year-old maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett from Louisville, Kentucky.
The family and friends of the victims mourn for their tragic loss. "We're all devastated," said Elena Garrett on her ex-husband Timothy Garrett's death.
Elena Garrett shared that Timothy would have celebrated his 52nd birthday on Saturday, May 4. They have two lovely daughters aged 11 and 12. "We were still best friends. He's the best father I've ever seen and ready to help anybody. He would give the shirt off his back for anybody," Elena Garrett further added.
"Jamie Brokaw was an experienced navigator who was no stranger to dangerous flying situations and had the skills to stay cool in the face of danger. He was a very good person and very smart person," close friend Chris Connerton shared to The Associated Press through a phone call.
Gary Stockdale started his aviation career at the age of 16 and was able to work at two airports in the area of Detroit. "Gary Stockdale also knew the dangers of flying. He always said it was dangerous. He would always say 'You either will die in a car crash or a ball of flame in a plane'," Glenn Stockdale, Gary's older brother, stated on Tuesday.
Jeremy Lipka's stepfather, Dave Buttman, revealed that Jeremy has already experienced close calls from flying before in Iraq and Afghanistan. "He knew the risks. He volunteered to take the trips. Basically, you're taking your chances flying in there and he was just happy to be one of the pilots to do it," Buttman shared to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.
The cause of the cargo Boeing 747 crash at the Bagram Airfield is still unknown but the weather condition that day is being considered as a factor particularly the thunderstorms that were present in the area. METARS, a weather reporting format mainly for aviation purposes, indicated a closeby thunderstorm with swirling winds that coincided with the plane's takeoff.
The Aviation-Safety.net report reads: "A thunderstorm with Cumulonimbus clouds was approaching the air base at the time of the accident. A weather report shows winds began shifting from 100 degrees [from the east] at 09:55 UTC to 350 degrees [from the north] at 10:55 UTC. Accident time was about 15:00 LT / 10:30 UTC."
The Aviation Herald confirmed that the cargo plane was carrying 5 military vehicles. "One army spokesperson said the crash occurred due to low altitude after takeoff and a cargo shift may have contributed," Business Insider reports.
Other factors that resulted to the horrifying plane crash will still be determined. Currently, the US National Transportation Safety Board is conducting their thorough investigation on the plane crash together with the Afghanistan Aviation Authority.