Entries in UPS (5)


Large Cargo Plane Crashes Near Birmingham Airport

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- A large cargo plane crashed outside the Birmingham, Ala. airport on Wednesday morning.

Flames were reported at the scene where a UPS jet crashed near the Birmingham International Airport, killing the pilot and copilot, according to law enforcement sources at the scene.

The plane had taken off from Louisville and was approaching the Birmingham International Airport around 6 a.m. when it went down, according to authorities.

The TSA said they believed the pilot and copilot were the only individuals on board with the cargo. Authorities have not yet released information on their status.

The National Transportation Safety Board launched an immediate investigation into the crash, announcing that they would send a full "Go Team" of investigators to Birmingham. The first investigator was expected to arrive by 10 a.m., with a full team to arrive later Wednesday.

The plane, an Airbus A300, was manufactured in 2004. It's not clear what cargo the plane was carrying.

It was also unclear what caused the crash. Near 6 a.m., the airport had visibility of 10 miles and a cloud ceiling of 700 feet.

UPS released a statement this morning following the crash:

"At this time, we are still determining the details of the incident. We will release more information as it becomes available. As we work through this difficult situation, we ask for your patience, and that you keep those involved in your thoughts and prayers."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


UPS, Pilots Establish Safety and Security Task Forces Amid Recent Threats to Air Cargo Industry

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- In an effort to address the "unique threats" faced by the air cargo/express package industry "in the era of global terrorism," UPS and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding that will, in turn, establish joint UPS/IPA Safety and Security Task Forces. 

The Emergency Vision Assurance System, checklists procedures for smoke and fire, and transportation of lithium batteries and other fire/smoke hazards will be among the major concerns addressed by the Safety Task Force.  The Security Task Force will also be responsible for air cargo security measures, perimeter security and  threat procedures, as well as background checks for those with access to UPS aircraft.

IPA President Captain Robert Thrush acknowledged the daily risks facing the air cargo industry and added that "[IPA and UPS] also recognize the key role our pilots can play in the mitigation and management of these threats both from the flight deck and by working together to improve cargo security and screening."

The installment of these task forces comes just after UPS and FedEx shipments were the targets of recent terrorist bomb plots, as well as a fatal UPS plane crash in Dubai, which was caused by lithium batteries.

On Wednesday, The Air Line Pilots Association called for a more tailored approach to air cargo screening rather than a "one-size-fits-all" effort.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


US Feared Parcel Bomb Plot Was Coming; Saw September 'Dry Run'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. intelligence officials feared that al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen were plotting to attack the United States and actually intercepted what they now believe were "dry run" shipments to Chicago in mid-September, according to several people briefed on the plot and a senior U.S. official.

The senior U.S. official told ABC News that the "dry run" involved a carton of household goods including books, religious literature, and a computer disk, but no explosives, shipped from Yemen to an address in Chicago by "someone with ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

Another person briefed on the incident said it is now believed the terrorists sent the package "so they could track how long it took and whether there would be any problems for the package getting through the system."

Senior administration officials told ABC News that, after the September shipment was discovered, U.S. intelligence agencies had specific concerns about the Yemen-based group's interest in Chicago, noting not only the destination of the September shipment, but also a photograph of the Chicago skyline in a magazine recently published by the terror group's propaganda arm.

U.S. intelligence "intercepted the packages in transit," the senior intelligence official said, searched them, and then allowed them to continue to Chicago.

"The dry run is always important to al Qaeda," said Dick Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official and now an ABC News consultant. "In this case they wanted to follow the packages using the tracking system to know exactly when they got to a point, how long the timer had to be set for, so the bomb would go off at the right point, which presumably was over Chicago."

The U.S. official said the CIA feared the packages "were intended to probe the security system for air cargo but there was nothing in them that could have been used to hide a bomb."

While officials believed air cargo might be used for an attack, "no one in the U.S. government had specific timing or date" for the real bombs, the senior U.S. official said.

The White House said it only learned of the actual air cargo plot late Thursday night when Saudi intelligence provided "a tip" about the bombs being shipped.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the tip involved the FedEx and UPS tracking numbers which made it possible for the U.S. to stop the shipments at transfer points in Dubai and the United Kingdom.

"We were able to identify where they were emanating from by package number, where they were located," Napolitano told ABC News.

The senior U.S. official said the tracking numbers were not known to the U.S. until after the packages had left Yemen.

The timing is significant because one of the bombs, the one shipped by FedEx, was moved to Dubai on two separate Qatar Air passenger jets.

The UPS shipment was moved on an all-cargo flight through Germany and on to England where it was to have been sent to the United States.

U.S. and British authorities say they now believe that the bombs, hidden in desktop printers, were designed to be detonated on board the aircraft carrying them.

"If one cargo plane is taken down by a bomb," said Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent, "you could literally shut down cargo transport across the world."

The White House has publicly thanked the Saudi intelligence service for its cooperation but the weeks of intelligence sharing with the Saudis that allowed the U.S. to know in advance that parcel bombs were coming has not previously been reported.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


US Hunts For Saudi Man Believed to Be Behind UPS, FedEx Bombs

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- The full force of the U.S. is now targeted on Ibrahim al-Asiri, the young Saudi bombmaker believed to be behind the two bombs found Friday in UPS and FedEx packages bound from Yemen to Chicago.

Asiri, 28, also said to have been behind last year's attempted Christmas bombing of Northwest flight 253, continues to outmatch billions of dollars in airport security equipment and presents a clear and present danger.  "We need to find him," said John Brennan, President Obama's top antiterrorism advisor.

American officials now concede that Asiri's two latest bombs would have made it onto flights to the U.S. but for the Saudi intelligence service providing the parcel tracking numbers.  Said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, "We were able to identify by where they were emanating from and package number, where they were located."

The bombs were cleverly disguised inside Hewlett-Packard printers being shipped along with clothes, books and a tourist souvenir.  Asiri packed the toner cartridge with explosives and added the circuit board of a cell phone--something that did not stand out in state of the art cargo screening.

While the packages were addressed to two synagogues in Chicago, U.S. officials now agree with an initial British estimate that the UPS and FedEx cargo planes that were to carry the parcels over the Atlantic were the real targets of the plot.

"At this point," said Brennan, "we, I think, would agree with the British that it looks as though they were designed to be detonated in flight."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Terror Plot: Explosives Discovered in Packages Bound for US

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WABC-TV New YorkYemen Says Woman Arrested For Sending Bomb Packages

(WASHINGTON) -- Security forces in Yemen arrested a female suspect Saturday, who the country's President says shipped two bombs hidden in printers to synagogues in Chicago.

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh made the announcement in Sanaa, the country's capitol, according to reports.

A spokesman at the Yemeni embassy in Washington, D.C. said he could not confirm the arrest.

President Saleh said the woman was taken into custody after Yemeni security forces surrounded a home at an undisclosed location earlier in the day.

The packages were both shipped earlier in the week, one by FedEx and the other by UPS, both destined for Chicago.

The Saudi Arabia intelligence service provided extensive information about the plot including the FedEx and UPS tracking numbers, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"We were able to identify them by where they were emanating from and package number, where they were located," Napolitano told ABC News.

In Chicago, the Or Chadash synagogue whose members are primarily gay and lesbian Jews said it had been notified it was one of the two targets of the terror plot. Or Chadash shares space with another synagogue, the Emanuel Congregation.

The communications director of Emanuel Congregation told ABC News that she noticed an unusually high number of hits on the temple's website from an IP address in Cairo.

Elsewhere Saturday, US officials continued to check out other packages sent to the United States from Yemen, but said they believed they had contained the immediate plot.

Suspicious packages from Yemen intercepted in Dubai and England tested positive for explosives, according to President Obama, addressing the nation Friday afternoon about what he called "a credible terrorist threat against our country."

"Last night and earlier today," said President Obama, "intelligence and law enforcement officials working with our friend and allies identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States, specifically two places of Jewish worship in Chicago."

The president said that he had "directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting."

The initial intelligence report from Saudi intelligence said there could be as many as 15 bomb packages being sent from Yemen to the U.S.

The initial report came late Thursday night and involved two separate packages shipped from Sanaa, Yemen to Chicago, according to law enforcement officials.

Officials said both packages were stopped midway on their trip to Chicago, one at the East Midlands cargo airfield outside London and the other at the airport in Dubai.

According to sources, the devices were constructed by gutting a toner cartridge and installing a complete improvised explosive inside it -- a detonator, main charge and cell phone initiator. One source gave an initial estimate that 10 to 14 ounces of homemade high explosive were contained in the devices.

Officials believe that the powder may be the explosive PETN, used in the failed plots of the so-called shoe bomber and underwear bomber.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that as a result of the discovery of the packages, "additional measures were taken regarding . . . flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports."

The discovery of the packages led to an international search of cargo planes carrying packages to the United States from Yemen.

Authorities in Newark and Philadelphia searched UPS and FedEx cargo jets on Friday. U.S. fighter jets also escorted Emirates Air flight 201 from Dubai into John F. Kennedy airport in New York City. According to a statement from NORAD, the plane was determined to be "an aircraft of interest."

Gibbs said President Obama was notified of a potential terrorist threat Thursday night by John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism, at 10:35 p.m. "The president directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting."

The president vowed to enhance screening of cargo planes in the U.S., and said he had been in touch with the president of Yemen.

Brennan issued a statement thanking Saudi Arabia "for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen." Brennan also thanked the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates for their assistance.

There had been conflicting reports about whether either of the two intercepted packages tested positive for explosives. British and U.S. officials initially reported that tests for explosives were negative, but other American law enforcement officials said at least one, possibly both, contained explosives. In a statement late Friday, British officials said only the "suspect package" was "currently being examined."

The package being examined in the UK also included a portion of a cellphone.

British Home Secretary Theresa May said that "a suspect package was discovered during a search of a cargo flight at East Midlands airport." May said the package originated in Yemen and was addressed to a destination in the U.S.

A FedEx official confirmed that a suspicious package shipped from Yemen had been "confiscated" at the FedEx facility in Dubai. Local authorities confiscated the package in cooperation with the FBI.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said it was taking steps to enhance air security. "Some of these security measures will be visible while others will not," said the statement.

"The public may recognize specific enhancements including heightened cargo screening and additional security at airports. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams and pat downs, among others. As always, we remind the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement."

A spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation of Chicago told ABC News the federation was alerted this morning and passed on the alert, advising local synagogues to take security precautions. She also said the group was not one of the targets.

The FBI's Chicago office said that the packages "in question" had been addressed to two Chicago locations, but would not provide further details. The FBI "notified the targeted institutions" by phone this morning, according to a spokesman. The White House said that the synagogue across the street from the president's home in Chicago was not one of the synagogues targeted.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement that said it had learned from "law enforcement sources" of a reported threat to Jewish institutions in packages shipped from the U.K., Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and that it had sent notice to Jewish organizations across the U.S.

While President Obama did not say that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was behind the apparent bombing attempt, he did note in his afternoon address that al Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot continues to seek ways to attack the United States.

The radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has repeatedly called for attacks on the U.S. from his base in Yemen.

American officials believe that AQAP has trained hundreds of terrorists whose prime objective is to attack the U.S., including the so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

"Yemen is the home of between 500 and 600 al Qaeda fighters, three or four times the number of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan," said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism official and now an ABC News consultant. "This is really a place where al Qaeda is operating, where it's strong, where it has training camps, where we know they have trained people and sent them to the United States."

U.S. authorities have now ordered every package shipped from Yemen to the U.S. to be inspected.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio