Body parts found in landing gear of Kabul flight, officials say

WASHINGTON – The Air Force on Tuesday admitted that human body parts were found in the wheel arch of a US military C-17 cargo plane that...


WASHINGTON – The Air Force on Tuesday admitted that human body parts were found in the wheel arch of a US military C-17 cargo plane that took off in chaos at Hamid International Airport Karzai of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Air Force officials did not say how many people died in Monday’s episode, but said the service was investigating “loss of civilian life” as a mob of Afghans, desperate to flee the country after their government collapsed in the face of the Taliban, climbed on the wings of the plane and fell from the sky after takeoff.

A harrowing video of the episode, recorded by Afghan media, circulated around the world, instantly making the scene gruesome – of US military might soar as Afghans clung to hope – a symbol of The withdrawal of President Biden from Afghanistan.

“We all face a human cost of these developments,” Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said in a briefing Tuesday.

“The footage from the past two days at the airport has been heartbreaking,” said Sullivan, the first cabinet-level administration official to answer reporters’ questions since. the Taliban took control of Kabul on Sunday.

General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the top military officer in charge of Afghanistan, visited Kabul on Tuesday, where, he said, commercial flights resumed after taking a break to secure the pitch. A White House official said U.S. military flights evacuated about 1,100 people on Tuesday, bringing the total to more than 3,200 so far.

American pilots and troops were forced to make decisions on the spot during panic at the airport Sunday and Monday. Another C-17 transport plane left Kabul on Sunday evening with 640 people crammed on board, more than double the expected number, military officials said, after hundreds of Afghans who had been cleared by the State Department to be evacuated rushed onto loading ramps. The pilots, believing the huge plane could handle the load, decided to take off, officials said. This plane landed safely at its destination with the Afghans on board.

But the people who tried the next day on another C-17 were not so lucky.

Early Monday morning, the gray Air Force plane – call sign REACH885 – descended on the runway. The wooden jet carried equipment and supplies for U.S. Marines and ground soldiers securing the airport and assisting in the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans.

Minutes after the plane landed, came to a stop, and lowered its rear ramp, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Afghans, rushed forward as the small crew watched in alarm.

The crew were aware of what had happened the day before. As of Monday morning, the number of people at the airport claiming flights had swelled. Crew members feared for their safety, boarded the plane and pulled the loading ramp before they were finished unloading, officials said.

By this time, crowds of Afghans had boarded the wings of the plane and, unbeknownst to the crew, officials said, in the wheel arch in which the landing gear sits. would fold up after take off.

The crew contacted air traffic control, operated by the US military, and the plane was cleared for take off, after spending only a few minutes on the ground.

Aware of the people hanging on the plane, the pilots first drove slowly. The military Humvees rushed past to try to chase the people away and get them off the plane. Two Apache gunships flew low, seeking to scare some people off the plane or push them back with their powerful rotor wash.

REACH885 accelerated and took off.

A few minutes later, however, the pilot and co-pilot realized they had a serious problem: the landing gear was not fully retracting. They sent one of the crew to take a look through a small window that allows them to see potential problems in the wheel arch in flight.

It was then that the crew saw the remains of an unknown number of Afghans who had hidden in the wheel arch – apparently crushed by the undercarriage. Scenes captured in videos of the theft showed other people dying.

After the four-hour flight, the plane landed at its destination, Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which became the hub for welcoming passengers, including Americans and Afghans, to the states. -United.

Alerted to the on-board tragedy, mental health counselors and chaplains met the distraught crew members as they disembarked.

“Security officials are doing due diligence to better understand how events unfolded,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in the statement.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Body parts found in landing gear of Kabul flight, officials say
Body parts found in landing gear of Kabul flight, officials say
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