Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Were all devastated Americans killed in 747 crash mourned

Family members in Michigan mourn the loss of crew members killed in cargo plane crash near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. WDIV's Chauncy Glover reports.

Jamie Brokaw was an experienced navigator who was no stranger to dangerous flying situations and had the skills to stay cool in the face of danger according to close friend Chris Connerton.

He was a very good person and very smart person Connerton told The Associated Press by telephone from Rochester Minn.

Brokaw 33 of Monroe Mich. was among seven Americans killed Monday when their National Air Cargo plane crashed near an Air Force base in Afghanistan. Six of the victims were from Michigan and a seventh was from Kentucky said Shirley Kaufman National Air Cargo vice president.

Connerton said Brokaw was a key reason he was able to make it through flight school in Jacksonville Fla. where they met.

Connerton also described a harrowing flight two years ago from Toledo Ohio to an international flight expo in Lakeland Fla. Connerton said ice had built up on the plane to the point that he could no longer get it to climb.

If it wasn't for Jamie's navigation and know how ... we wouldn't have made it Connerton said.

Killed along with Brokaw in the Afghanistan crash were Gary Stockdale 51 of Romulus Mich. pilots Brad Hasler 34 of Trenton Mich. and Jeremy Lipka 37 of Brooklyn Mich. first officer Rinku Summan 32 of Canton Mich. loadmaster Michael Sheets 36 of Ypsilanti Mich. and maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett 51 of Louisville Ky.

Building model planes and working on real ones comprised Stockdale's passion filling the family's basement with models in his youth jumping into aviation as a career at age 16 and later working at two Detroit area airports.

Stockdale also knew the dangers of flying his older brother said Tuesday.

He always said it was dangerous said Glenn Stockdale 55. He would always say 'You either will die in a car crash or a ball of flame in a plane.'

AP / Courtesy Stockdale Family

Gary Stockdale 51 of Romulus Mich. was killed in a cargo plane crash on Monday.

Lipka had flown in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and had close calls before said his stepfather Dave Buttman.

There was risk there all the time. He knew the risks. He volunteered to take the trips Buttman told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Basically you're taking your chances flying in there and he was just happy to be one of the pilots to do it.

The Dubai bound Boeing 747 400 operated by National Air Cargo crashed just after takeoff Monday from Bagram Air Base around 11 20 a.m. local time the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement Tuesday.

The accident site is within the perimeter of Bagram Air Base.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for downing the plane but NATO said the claims were false and there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation. The NTSB is investigating the crash alongside the ministry. The team will be composed of three NTSB investigators as well as representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing the NTSB said.

Kaufman said the plane owned by National Airlines an Orlando Fla. based subsidiary of National Air Cargo was carrying vehicles and other cargo.

Elena Garrett of Jeffersonville Ind. just across the Ohio River from Louisville said ex husband Timothy Garrett would have turned 52 on Saturday. They have two daughters together ages 11 and 12.

We're all devastated Elena Garrett said about his death. We were still best friends. He's the best father I've ever seen (and) ready to help anybody. He would give the shirt off his back for anybody.

Bill Hasler said his family learned Monday morning that his brother Brad was one of the crash victims.

Brad was a wonderful father to two young children a beloved husband to a wife who is expecting another child a loving son and the most loyal and supportive brother I could have ever asked for Bill Hasler said in a statement. His influence in the lives of all of us who loved him is immeasurable and our grief is indescribable.

National Airlines was based until recently at Michigan's Willow Run Airport west of Detroit. It carries cargo both commercially and for the military Kaufman said. She said the company employs about 225 people.

Summan had worked 2 years for National Air Cargo said his wife Rajnit Summan.

Rajnit Summan said she last spoke to her husband Sunday.

I told him to be safe she said.

This story was originally published on Wed May 1 2013 4 31 AM EDT

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