Nine people are feared dead after a Sabreliner 40 freighter crashed on take-off from Culiacan in Mexico.

Mexico’s transport and communications ministry (SCT) says that the Sabreliner, owned by Mexican shipping company Jett Paqueteria and carrying the registration XA-TFL, blew a tire when attempting to take off from the western coastal city of Culiacan.

SCT says the incident occurred at 0940 yesterday morning. Citing early reports from the scene, SCT says that the aircraft obtained air traffic control clearance and began a take-off run.

The aircraft blew a tire, causing the pilot to lose control. It then skidded onto the Culiacan-Navolato highway, where it hit three vehicles before striking a factory building.

mexican crash saberliner

Investigations into the cause of the accident are underway, says SCT.

Local media reports say that there were nine fatalities, comprising the aircraft’s three occupants, a family of four who were in a car on the highway and two soldiers patrolling the highway ahead of a presidential visit.

Pratt & Whitney-powered XA-TFL carries the serial number 265-048. It entered service in August 1962 and was formerly operated by the US Air Force.

Culiacan International’s runway 20/02 is an asphalt strip about 7,550ft (2,300m) in length.