A cargo plane crash in Afghanistan has left seven Americans dead, reports state. The crash happened shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in route to Dubai, United Arab Emirates confirmed.
"This was a purely cargo flight and no passengers were aboard," a company statement said. "Cargo consisted of vehicles and routine general cargo."
Those killed on board were crew and have been identified as Brad Hasler, Jeremy Lipka, Jamie Brokaw, Rinku Summan, Michael Sheets and Gary Stockdale of Michigan and Timothy Garrett from Kentucky.
"This is a devastating loss for our family and we'll work diligently with authorities to find the cause. Our focus at this time is on the family members of those we've lost, and on assisting the National Transportation Safety Board and Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority in their investigations," National Airlines President Glen Joerger added.
"He was a very good person and very smart person," Jamie Brokaw's friend Chris Connerton told the Associated Press. "If it wasn't for Jamie's navigation and know-how, we wouldn't have made it," Connerton said of an incident in which the two were flying when ice began building up on the plane.
"We're all devastated," Elena Garrett said of husband Timothy's death. "We were still best friends. He's the best father I've ever seen (and) ready to help anybody. He would give the shirt off his back for anybody."
National Airlines carries cargo for the military and for private companies as well. It employs approximately 225 people.
"Brad was a wonderful father to two young children, a beloved husband to a wife who is expecting another child, a loving son, and the most loyal and supportive brother I could have ever asked for. His influence in the lives of all of us who loved him is immeasurable, and our grief is indescribable," Brad's brother Bill told the AP.
While the Taliban took responsibility for the crash, that has not been confirmed by NATO. The organization said that the claim was blatantly false and the crash would be investigated to the fullest extent.