- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Lufthansa cargo plane caught fire and split in half as it was landing Tuesday in the Saudi Arabian capital, and the German pilot and co-pilot were lightly injured, an airport official said.

Lufthansa said one of its cargo planes was involved in an accident in Riyadh, but it did not confirm there was a crash.

Riyadh airport official Fahd al-Hamoud said the pilot and co-pilot were rushed to a military hospital near the airport. The two are German nationals, he said.

“The plane was close to the airport when it caught fire,” Mr. al-Hamoud said. “Its engines stopped working; then it crashed and split into two halves.”

It took civil defense workers about three hours to contain the fire, he added.

Michael Goentgens, a spokesman for Lufthansa‘s cargo division in Germany, said the MD-11 cargo plane coming from Frankfurt had an accident while trying to land at the airport in Riyadh, but he declined to comment on the cause.

He also confirmed the two pilots aboard Flight 8460, which was carrying about 90 tons of unspecified cargo, were injured.

The Arab satellite TV channel Al-Arabiya aired live footage from the airport showing the plane on fire and black smoke billowing into the sky.

Juergen Baetz in Berlin and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.


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