13 INVESTIGATES: UPS plane that crashed had three previous emerg - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

13 INVESTIGATES: UPS plane that crashed had three previous emergency situations

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BIRMINGHAM, AL -

While this morning's UPS airbus A-300 cargo plane crash is an unusual and tragic occurrence, it's not the first time a plane like this has gone down.

In our investigation, we've learned this particular Airbus A-300, tail number 155UP has had a dozen maintenance issues in the past -- three incidents were declared an emergency, according to the FAA.

The most recent one was in May of last year.

That plane that crashed today is one of 53 airbus A-300 planes that UPS operates.

It was put into service in 2003.

Since 1981, according to the FAA, there have been 60 crashes involving an airbus A-300, known as a twin-engine wide-body jet aircraft. Seventeen of them have been overseas, the rest have been here in the US and Puerto Rico. Five of these crashes were fatal.

The last crash in the US was American Airlines flight 587 on Nov. 12, 2001. It crashed shortly after take-off from JFK in Belle Harbor, NY, killing all 265 people on board and five people on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the cause of that crash was the airplane's vertical stabilizer, which keeps the plane flying straight and the rudder, which steers the plane, separated in flight.

The engines separated as well.

The plane can carry up to 266 passengers, but when used as a cargo plane -- that was the case for today's flight -- it can hold up to 120,000 lbs of cargo according to UPS.

Local US Postal officials say flight 1354 was carrying about 1,500 pounds of regular US Mail. They understand the mail was being held in a strong aluminum container and believe most of it, if not all of it, is intact and they should be able to recover it.

We should also note UPS was fined $4 million earlier this year by the FAA, which alleged UPS failed to follow FAA-approved procedures for making structural repairs to four aircraft, two DC- and two MD-11 planes.

That fine did not include the Airbus A-300.

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