Cargo jet with three on board crashes near Houston airport

A Boeing 767 cargo jetliner heading to Houston with three people aboard disintegrated after crashing into a bay east of the city, according to a Texas sheriff.

After scouring for hours the plane was finally located in Jack's Pocket at the north end of Trinity Bay.

At about the moment it disappeared from communication with the FAA, the flight had descended to about 6,900 feet and was flying at 282 miles per hour, according to the site Flight Aware. "Our main priority at this time is caring for those affected and we will ensure we do all we can to support them now and in the days and weeks to come", Atlas Air said in a statement.

It had been coming from Miami, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Data gathered by online websites show that the plane, which was flying from Miami to Houston, rapidly lost altitude.

The logistics and online shopping giant Amazon launched its Prime Air service in August 2016 using leased aircraft from two cargo aviation providers as part of its so-called "vertical integration" strategy that also includes the development of package-carrying drones.

Air traffic controllers in Houston tried at least twice to contact the plane but received no response.

"We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board the airplane", it said.

The depth of the water in Trinity Bay, where the plane crashed, is zero to 5 feet.

Boeing said in a tweet that the company was "deeply saddened" to learn about the crash. "We are prepared to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident".

An NTSB spokesman says an investigator will be on the site to examine the aircraft and document the scene.

  • Tracy Klein