A civilian cargo plane crashed shortly after taking off from the sprawling US Bagram airbase in Afghanistan with the Taliban claiming responsibility for “shooting down” the jet.
But a Nato spokesman later denied any Taliban involvement, adding that the 20-year-old Boeing 747 had come down within the boundaries of the US base near the capital of Kabul.
Witnesses said the National Air Cargo-operated plane had reached an altitude of 1,300ft before “falling out of the sky”. According to the Aviation Safety Network, which carries incident reports from all registered jets, the plane had taken off from Bagram’s single concrete runway and “attained a very steep nose-up attitude” immediately after take-off.
The incident report said: “It rolled left and right and entered a stall, descending toward the ground until it struck the ground near the end of the runway.”
Flight radar tracking websites shows the jet flying into Afghanistan from Châteauroux in France on Monday. Before that it was in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“We did lose all seven crew members” said a spokeswoman for Florida-based National Air Cargo.
The Taliban’s claims of responsibility were denied by Nato which said there had been no reports of militant activity in or around the base at the time.
It is not thought there were any Britons on board the jet at the time.