Cargo plane crashes killing US pilot

July 6, 2008 1:15:41 PM PDT
A plane carrying a load of auto parts crashed Sunday as it was trying to land in the northern city of Ramos Arizpe, killing the pilot and seriously injuring the co-pilot, Mexican and U.S. officials said. Segismundo Doguin, the deputy civil defense chief for Coahuila state, said the co-pilot suffered second- and third-degree burns and was in critical condition at a hospital in the nearby city of Saltillo.

Mexican officials gave varying versions of the names of the crew and Donald McNeff, a spokesman for the plane's operator, USA Jet Airlines, declined to identify them, though he said both were U.S. citizens.

Doguin said the plane crashed before dawn Sunday half a mile (1 kilometer) from the runway in Ramos Arizpe, 200 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The plane was carrying four tons of car parts it had picked up in Hamilton, Canada, for a General Motors plant in Ramos Arizpe. The DC-9-15 freighter was operated by USA Jet Airlines, based Ypsilanti, Michigan.

McNeff said the plane cleared customs in Shreveport, Louisiana, before heading to Ramos Arizpe, said USA Jet Airlines spokesman Donald McNeff.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a news release that it has sent a team of investigators to Mexico to help in the probe.