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Runway fireball kills 2

A FEDEX cargo plane smashed into a runway and burst into a ball of fire while attempting to land at Tokyo's main international airport yesterday, killing the American pilot and copilot.

Investigators believe wind shear, or a sudden gust of wind, may have been a factor.

Questions were also being raised about the safety of the MD-11, a wide-body airliner built by McDonnell Douglas and based on the DC-10.

The flight from FedEx's hub in Guangzhou in south China appeared to bounce after its initial touchdown and then skipped along the main runway at Narita Airport before flipping over and coming to a fiery halt, footage from airport security cameras showed.

Firefighters and rescuers immediately swarmed the MD-11 plane, but the pilot and copilot ?? Kevin Kyle Mosley, 54, and Anthony Stephen Pino, 49 ?? were killed. They were the only two people aboard.

Investigators said the accident may have been caused by low-level turbulence or "wind shear," sudden gusts that can lift or smash an aircraft into the ground during landing, said Kazuhito Tanakajima, an aviation safety official at the Transport Ministry.

Unusually strong winds up to about 76 kilometers per hour were blowing through Narita City around the time of the crash. But Tanakajima said the wind speed at the time of the accident was not enough to be considered dangerous, unless wind shear was involved.

Strong winds and turbulence have caused other recent incidents at the airport. Last month, a flight from the Philippines was jolted by severe turbulence as it circled prior to landing, injuring 50 passengers and crew members.

The MD-11 has been involved in accidents in which it flipped while landing, and pilots have complained about the aircraft in the past.


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