Preliminary inquiries into the Kalitta Air Boeing 747-200 freighter crash in Colombia indicate that both outboard engines on the aircraft lost power shortly after the jet took off from Bogota.
With the resulting loss of thrust probably too great to permit a return to the airport, the crew apparently attempted to land the aircraft, in darkness, in an area of open countryside between the towns of Madrid and Mosqueta.
Sources in contact with the crew, who survived the 7 July accident, claim that the outboard starboard engine failed after rotation, as the aircraft departed to the northwest bound for Miami.
As the pilots prepared to carry out the standard set of procedures for loss of an engine during take-off, the outboard port engine also failed. It appears to have touched down heading south, just to the west of a body of water, disintegrating and leaving a trail of debris hundreds of metres long.
The cockpit separated and came to rest away from the central fuselage and wing assemblies, which were consumed by a fierce blaze. Two people on the ground were killed.
Images of the instrument panel inside the cockpit of the wrecked aircraft, while not conclusive, appear to show similar, much lower oil pressure indications for the outboard engines than the inboard pair.
The landing-gear and flap levers also appear to be in the retracted position, although it is unclear whether this accurately reflects the configuration of the aircraft before impact.
Loss of power from an engine during take-off is a central aspect of the investigation into another Kalitta Air 747-200F accident at Brussels on 25 May. The aircraft broke up after overrunning the runway but, again, the crew survived.
Source: Flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news