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West Virginia airport reopened after cargo plane crash

Police cruisers are parked outside the terminal at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W.Va after a fatal plane crash, Friday, May 5, 2017. A cargo plane contracted by UPS went off the runway and over a hillside at the West Virginia airport Friday morning, an airport official said. (AP Photo/Ben Queen)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A runway at a West Virginia airport reopened Saturday after a propeller plane carrying UPS cargo crashed, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

Mike Plante, a spokesman at Yeager Airport in Charleston, said in a statement that National Transportation Safety Board investigators released the runway for reopening on Saturday.

Plante said maintenance crews swept and reconditioned the runway before the airport reopened.

The runway was gouged when the Air Cargo Carriers plane made a hard landing and went off the edge of a steep, wooded hillside on Friday, officials said. Responders had to cut their way through thick brush and trees from above and below to reach the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot.

The Air Cargo Carriers plane had departed from Louisville, Kentucky, at 5:43 a.m. and arrived at the Charleston airport at 6:51 a.m., Plante said. No distress call was made before the crash.

NTSB lead investigator Bill English said the sky was overcast, with about 10 miles of visibility under the cloud cover, which began at about 500 feet above the ground.

In a Saturday briefing, English said the plane did not have a cockpit voice recorder, or “black box,” though it was not required to have one, Plante said in a news release.

Investigators plan to be at the airport for another two or three days, English said. The NTSB will issue a preliminary report in about a month, and a full report after the investigation is completed.

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines canceled flights during the airport’s closure.

“We appreciate the patience of our passengers during this difficult time,” Yeager Airport Executive Director Terry Sayre said.

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash. Joining the NTSB probe is Short Brothers Co. of Northern Ireland, which makes the Short 330, a small, twin-engine turboprop.

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