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Emery DC-8 cargo plane crashes near Sacramento, California
Plumes of smoke rise from crash site
RANCHO CORDOVA, California (CNN) -- A DC-8 cargo plane carrying three people crashed late Wednesday, apparently after taking off from Sacramento Mather Airport.
The Emery Worldwide cargo plane crashed into a wrecking yard which contained hundreds of vehicles; thick black smoke billowed from the site. The plane was enroute to Dayton, Ohio, said Jim Allen, a spokesman for Emery. A crew of three -- the captain, first officer and flight engineer were aboard, Allen said.
"Our initial information is that there were no survivors," Allen told CNN. He described the plane as "...a freighter aircraft, carrying normal industrial freight."
Load balance problem reported
After a routine takeoff, authorities said the pilot reported a problem with the positioning -- or balance -- of the plane's load, and the pilot was attempting to return to the airport when the crash occurred in an industrial area about a mile from the airport.
"We know that the pilot called in a center of gravity problem," involving the positioning of the load, said Lou Padgug, Sacramento airport spokesman.
"Three's quite a bit of debris around the crash site. There were some large portions of the fuselage," among the debris, as well as "clothing, automatic transmission fluid, and a small amount of detonating explosives," said Fire Capt. Dan Haverty. He did not provide further information about the cargo.
Witness describes explosion
"The biggest problem we've had is fire in the vehicles," on the ground, Haverty said. No injuries were reported on the ground, and there were no evacuations.
A witness told the local television station that he was sitting in his office and heard the explosion -- the plane burst into flames. Salvage cars in the area also were in flames and exploding, he said.
Emery is one of several cargo companies which use the airport, a former U.S. Air Force base, converted to civilian use.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were dispatched to the crash site.
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