DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A U.S. cargo plane company has released the names of seven people killed when one of its planes crashed in Afghanistan.
Six of them are from Michigan:
First Officer Jamie Brokaw, of Monroe; pilots Brad Hasler of Trenton and Jeremy Lipka of Brooklyn; First Officer Rinku Summan of Canton; loadmaster Michael Sheets of Ypsilanti; and maintenance crew Gary Stockdale of Romulus.
Also killed was Timothy Garrett of Louisville, Kentucky.
The friend Brokaw described him as an experienced navigator who performed well under pressure.
“He was a very good person and very smart person,” Chris Connerton told The Associated Press Tuesday by telephone from Rochester, Minn.
Connerton credited Brokaw with helping get him through flight school, as well as a harrowing flight two years ago from Toledo, Ohio, to an international flight expo in Lakeland, Fla. Connerton said ice had built up on the plane to the point that he could no longer get it to climb.
“If it wasn’t for Jamie’s navigation and know-how … we wouldn’t have made it,” Connerton said. “I don’t know that I would have had the capacity to handle the situation on my own.”
Bill Hasler said in a statement Tuesday that his family learned Monday morning that his brother, Brad, was one of the crash victims.
He married his longtime girlfriend only two weeks ago.
“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,” Bill Hasler said. “His influence in the lives of all of us who loved him is immeasurable, and our grief is indescribable.”
The plane, a Boeing 747-400 operated by National Air Cargo, crashed Monday just after takeoff from Bagram Air Base. The crew members were all American citizens, the board said. The accident site is within the perimeter of Bagram Air Base.
The international cargo flight was destined for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for downing the plane, but NATO said later the claims were false, and there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.
The team will be composed of three NTSB investigators, as well as representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, board said.
The plane – owned by National Airlines, an Orlando, Florida-based subsidiary of National Air Cargo – was carrying vehicles and other cargo, according to National Air Cargo Vice President Shirley Kaufman. She said those killed were four pilots, two mechanics and a load master, who was responsible for making sure that the weight and balance of the cargo is appropriate.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950, Kaufman said they’re shocked and saddened.
“There’s a lot of extra work … so there’s this business that perhaps is a good thing. You’ve got to keep moving, but it’s very hard,” she said. “As much as you might, in this industry, prepare for it — there’s regulations that require you to prepare for anything — you can’t.
“There’s nothing like the real thing,” Kaufman said.
National Airlines was based until recently at Michigan’s Willow Run Airport, west of Detroit. It carries cargo both commercially and for the military, Kaufman said. She said the company employs about 225 people.
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