4 January 2002

Five dead in executive jet crash

Five Americans were killed when an executive jet crashed at Birmingham airport this afternoon.

A witness reported seeing the twin-engined Canadair Challenger plane explode in a ball of flame after the accident at 12.10pm.

Two crew and three passengers were on board the private aircraft, which is believed to have clipped a wing on the ground on take-off.

The jet was registered with agricultural equipment company AGCO Corp., which has its head office in Duluth, Georgia. In a statement, the company said its president and CEO, John Shumejda, and its senior vice president of sales, Ed Swingle, were killed.

The private jet was heading to Bangor, Maine, in the United States. The crew was also American.

The airport was closed while emergency services deal with the crash. Flights were diverted to East Midlands and Coventry airports.