Crash investigators in Afghanistan have said that quickly shifting cargo of heavy military vehicles contributed to the crash of a National Air Cargo B747-400F on 29 April in which all seven people aboard were killed. As the aircraft began to take off from the Bagram Air Base, the vehicles slammed into the back of the cargo space so hard that parts of the plane broke off and were left on the runway, officials said. With the centre of gravity pushed too far backward, the nose rose too high for the plane to fly.
Cockpit voice recorder copied the pilot’s last words as “Wait, wait,” but there is also speculation that it was actuall,y “Weight, weight,” the pilot was saying. Investigators also found the charred remains of some cargo straps that were cut but it is unclear if they were the cause, or an effect of the tragedy. Wiring at the back of the plane also showed damage from the shifting cargo, according to Nangialai Qalatwal, a spokesman for the Afganistan Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation. The aircraft was loaded with nearly 80 tonnes of cargo including three armored vehicles and two mine sweepers, for a flight from Afghanistan to Dubai, Qalatwal said. He said that the plane had been checked twice before takeoff, once two hours before departure and again just before it left and that neither review had revealed any technical problems.