The final moments of the flight of the cargo plane that crashed Monday in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, appear to have been captured on a dashboard camera. The approximately 3-minute video shows what appears to be the Boeing 747-400 jet climbing shortly after takeoff, at 11:20 a.m., from Bagram Airbase. But some 12 seconds into the video, the jet appears to stall, rolls from side to side, and drops.
At 23 seconds, the plane crashes, nose first, into the ground off the side of the road, erupting into a ball of orange flame and black smoke.
There is no immediate reaction from inside the vehicle. After the driver brings the vehicle equipped with the webcam to a halt, at 1:15 in the video, someone says, "Oh, f***!"
At 1:33, as the camera shows the vehicle moving once again, a noise can be heard -- possibly from a dog. Someone says, "All right, come here. Shh! Shh! Shh!" The yelping stops; the vehicle stops.
At 2:13 in the video, the vehicle approaches the crash site and stops, the camera once again capturing thick black smoke. The video ends.
Watch the video below:
"That's one dramatic fall out of the sky," said Arthur Rosenberg, a pilot, engineer and partner with the New York-based law firm Soberman & Rosenberg, which specializes in litigation stemming from plane crashes. "It could have been a rock."
He added, "The plane just flat-out stalled. There's absolutely no question about that."
He said too much cargo in the rear of the plane is one of several possible causes.
"It looks to me like the plane pitched up; the most likely cause would be too much load in the rear," he said in a telephone interview. "The plane dropped below minimum controllable airspeed and started to roll."
But, he added, "It's way too early to tell."
The video's authenticity cannot be confirmed. It bears the date 2013/02/01, but date stamps can easily be inaccurate.
According to National Airlines, the U.S.-based cargo carrier, Flight NCR102, had just taken off from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan en route to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, when the crash occurred.
"This was a purely cargo flight and no passengers were aboard," a company statement said.
The cargo included five armored vehicles being taken out of Afghanistan as part of the drawdown of U.S. forces, said Shirley Kaufman of National Air Cargo.
National specializes in moving freight for the military and businesses, as well as charter passenger service in the Middle East.
The cause of the crash has not been determined; a four-person team from the National Transportation Safety Board as well as representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and The Boeing Company will assist the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation in the investigation.
Six of the victims were from Michigan, National said; they were identified as Brad Hasler, Jeremy Lipka, Jamie Brokaw, Rinku Summan, Michael Sheets and Gary Stockdale. The other victim, Timothy Garrett, was from Kentucky.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his group shot down the aircraft and that "several foreign soldiers were killed."
That claim could not be verified. A number of Taliban claims of responsibility have proven false.