Amazon Prime cargo jet crashes in Texas, killing 3

An Amazon Prime cargo jet, similar to this one, crashed just outside Houston today, killing all three crew members. The plane was operated by Atlas Air.

An Amazon Prime cargo jet operated by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (NASDAQ:AAWW) crashed today near Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, killing all three crewmembers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Flight 3591 was en route to Houston from Miami when it crashed about 35 miles outside of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, its final destination. The plane was a twin-engine Boeing 767.

According to Flightradar24, this particular plane first entered Atlas Air’s fleet in April 2017. It was a converted passenger jet and is reportedly 26 years old.

Chamber Country sheriff Brian Hawthorne told the crash scattered debris everywhere.

“When I got out there it was just floating debris,” he said. “Everything from bedsheets to women’s clothing to cardboard boxes to a lot of Fiberglas. Then as we got closer we started seeing plane debris. Knowing what I saw, I can’t believe anyone could survive it.”

No cause for the crash has been determined, but the sheriff said witnesses described hearing a sound like lightning before the crash.

“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the accident involving an Atlas Air 767 cargo airplane that crashed into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, shortly before 12:45 p.m. local time Saturday,” the company said in a statement. “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board the airplane. We are prepared to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board  (NTSB) as it investigates the accident.”

The FAA said investigators are on the way to the scene. NTSB will be notified and in charge of the investigation, the agency said.

Atlas Air, which operates 20 aircraft for Amazon, confirmed three people were on board the plane.

“Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time,” the company said in a statement. “Atlas Air is cooperating fully with the FAA and NTSB. We will update as additional information becomes available.”

According to flight tracking site Onemileatatime, the plane, with tail number N1217A, has previously been operated by Canadian Airlines, China Southern, and LAN before conversion to a cargo plane and acquired by Atlas Air.

Purchase, N.Y.-based Atlas generates most of its revenue by flying freighter aircraft for airlines, the military, and other customers. It posted record revenue of $765 million, a 22-percent increase from the year-earlier period in the fourth quarter of 2018. On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, rose 31 percent to $87 million from adjusted income of $66 million. Adjusted EBITDA rose 21 percent to $196.5 million.

Show More

Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.