Crashed Lufthansa MD-11F was carrying 80t of freight

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Eighty tonnes of freight were on board the Lufthansa Cargo Boeing MD-11F which crashed on landing at the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh today, following a flight from Frankfurt.

Lufthansa Cargo is unable to give details on the nature of the cargo. It says the aircraft was operating flight LH8460 when the accident occurred at 11:38.

Meteorological data from Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport indicate mild northwesterly winds - possibly suggesting an approach to runway 33L - good visibility and no significant weather conditions at the time.

NOTAM information from the airport states that runway 15R/33L has been closed by the disabled aircraft. But the airport's other parallel runway, the primary 15L/33R, has been declared open despite having earlier been the subject of a maintenance closure.

The tri-jet broke up on landing. Both pilots survived after leaving the aircraft by an emergency, says Lufthansa Cargo, and are being treated in hospital. The fire on the MD-11F, it adds, has been extinguished but the jet is "severely damaged".

"It is not yet known exactly what type of freight [was on board] or which customers are affected," the carrier adds, referring to the shipment. "The cause of the accident is still being investigated."

Lufthansa Cargo says the aircraft had been en route to Hong Kong via Riyadh and Sharjah.