Body Parts Found in Landing Gear of Flight From Kabul, Officials Say

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Harrowing video of the chaos, recorded by Afghan media, person circulated astir the world. The Air Force said the incidental is nether investigation.

Groups gathered astatine  the planetary   airdrome  successful  Kabul, Afghanistan, connected  Monday seeking to permission  the country.
Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Helene CooperEric Schmitt

Aug. 17, 2021, 6:13 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The Air Force acknowledged connected Tuesday that quality assemblage parts were recovered successful the instrumentality good of an American subject C-17 cargo level that took formation amid chaos astatine Hamid Karzai International Airport successful Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

Air Force officials person not said however galore radical died successful the occurrence connected Monday, but said the work was investigating “the nonaccomplishment of civilian lives” arsenic a assemblage of Afghans, hopeless to flight the state aft their authorities collapsed to the Taliban, climbed onto the plane’s wings and fell from the entity aft it took off.

Harrowing video of the episode, recorded by the Afghan quality media, has circulated astir the world, instantly making the horrific country — of American subject mightiness flying distant arsenic Afghans hung connected against each anticipation — a awesome of President Biden’s retreat from Afghanistan.

“We are each contending with a quality outgo to these developments,” Jake Sullivan, the nationalist information adviser, said astatine a briefing connected Tuesday.

“The images from the past mates of days astatine the airdrome person been heartbreaking,” said Mr. Sullivan, the archetypal cabinet-level medication authoritative to instrumentality questions from reporters since the Taliban took power of Kabul connected Sunday.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the apical subject serviceman successful complaint of Afghanistan, flew to Kabul connected Tuesday, where, helium said, commercial flights had resumed aft they were paused to unafraid the field.

American pilots and troops were forced to marque on-the-spot decisions during the panic astatine the airport connected Sunday and Monday. Another C-17 transport level near Kabul precocious Sunday nighttime with 640 radical crowded connected board, much than treble the planned number, subject officials said, aft hundreds of Afghans who had been cleared by the State Department to beryllium evacuated surged onto loading ramps. The pilots, determining that the immense craft could grip the load, decided to instrumentality off, officials said. That level landed safely astatine its destination with the Afghans aboard.

But the radical who tried the adjacent time connected a antithetic C-17 were not truthful fortunate.

Early Monday morning, the grey Air Force level — telephone motion REACH885 — descended onto the runway. The lumbering pitchy was carrying instrumentality and supplies for the U.S. Marines and soldiers connected the crushed securing the airdrome and helping with the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans.

Minutes aft the level touched down, rolled to a halt and lowered its rear ramp, hundreds, possibly thousands of Afghans, rushed guardant arsenic the tiny unit watched successful alarm.


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One time aft the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan, thousands of radical who were hopeless to fly the state rushed to the airdrome successful Kabul.CreditCredit...Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The unit was alert of what had happened the nighttime before. On Monday morning, the fig of radical astatine the airdrome clamoring to get onto flights had swelled. The unit members feared for their safety, jumped backmost up into the level and pulled up the loading ramp earlier they had finished unloading, officials said.

By then, throngs of Afghans had climbed aboard the wings of the level and, unbeknown to the crew, officials said, into the instrumentality good into which the landing cogwheel would fold aft takeoff.

The unit contacted aerial postulation control, operated by U.S. subject personnel, and the level was cleared for takeoff, aft spending lone minutes connected the ground.

Mindful of the radical hanging onto the plane, the pilots taxied dilatory astatine first. Military Humvees rushed alongside trying to pursuit radical distant and disconnected the plane. Two Apache chopper gunships flew low, seeking to scare immoderate radical distant from the level oregon propulsion them disconnected with their almighty rotor wash.

REACH885 accelerated and was airborne.

Minutes later, however, the aviator and co-pilot realized they had a superior problem: The landing cogwheel would not afloat retract. They sent 1 of the unit members down to adjacent done a tiny porthole that allows them to presumption imaginable problems successful the instrumentality good portion aloft.

It was past the unit saw the remains of an undetermined fig of Afghans who had stowed distant successful the instrumentality good — seemingly crushed by the landing gear. Scenes captured successful videos of the formation showed different radical plunging to their death.

After the four-hour flight, the level landed astatine its destination, Al Udeid Air Base successful Qatar, which has go the hub for receiving passengers, including Americans and Afghans, yet bound for the United States.

Alerted of the calamity connected board, intelligence wellness counselors and chaplains met the anguished unit members arsenic they disembarked.

“Safety officials are doing owed diligence to amended recognize however events unfolded,” Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, said successful the statement.

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