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May 26, 2008

Plane Splits in Half While Taking Off

While many people complain about their luggage being lost by airlines or the price of tickets, you very rarely hear about something like this. A plane split in half and crashed at the end of a runway in Brussels. Luckily it was not a passenger plane and no one perished in the incident.

The cargo plane had five crew members, four of which had slight injures and had to be taken to hospital. The mayor of a nearby town, Francis Vermeiren helped to coordinate rescue efforts and said that the plane had not caught on fire in the incident. The plane was on a flight to Bahrain and it was not stated what the plane was carrying. However, the wings were covered with flame resistant material because the plane is still full of fuel.

The plane will obviously be inspected to determine what happened but it seems kind of weird that the plane would split in the midst of take off. I was surprised to see that the plane was manufactured in my town, Ypsilanti, Michigan and was built by Kalitta Air, a cargo carrier at Willow Run airport.

The plane came apart at the end of the runway, close to neighborhoods and a rail system. The rails system was temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure. It is great that the thing did not come apart in the air but it make some wonder if there was something wrong with it that could have been caught before the plane took off.

It is stories like this that make me wonder about inspections and the safety of planes. Although this was a cargo plane, people still must be on board so the safety standards need to be followed just as diligent. How can we know that the plane we are on has been inspected and is safe? This is a question that seems to be getting harder and harder to answer.

At this time the cause of the crash has not been determined. There is always a chance that the cause did not have anything to do with the way that the plane was constructed but that is the initial assumption. An external cause seems unlikely but there could have been something on the runway or something that was done to the plane before take off that caused the problems.

The good news is that no one was injured in the incident. Further information about this bizarre plane crash will hopefully arise in the next few days and settle some questions. The not so friendly skies have enough problems right now. I am sure that for the sake of all those that take to the air, answers will come quickly.

As gas prices surge and flying becomes more and more expensive, the need to have another way to travel and transport increases. I also wonder if with increasing prices and cost to airlines, if inspections will become less and less effective. Perhaps we will have to become more patient in our travels and return to simpler ways of traveling such as trains. Which are, by the way, my favorite way to travel.

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