Photo of 640 Afghans packed inside US Air Force cargo plane leaving Afghanistan goes viral
Images from an evacuation flight being operated by the US Air Force between Kabul and Qatar surfaced on the internet in the aftermath of the chaotic visuals from Kabul Airport.
The military plane called the Boeing C-17 Globemaster took off from the Kabul Airport jampacked with around 640 people sitting shoulder to shoulder.
As per maker Boeing’s website, the official maximum passenger capacity of the airplane is 134 people in a ‘palletized arrangement’ with 80 passengers on eight pallets, plus 54 seated at the sidewall.
As per flight tracking software, the plane uses the call sign Reach 871 and its home base is the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, US.
As reported by a US defence website, the pilots of the plane did not intend to carry such a large load of passengers but decided to go ahead after seeing panicked Afghans cleared for evacuation crowd around the airplane.
While the figure earlier reported was 800 passengers as per the initial audio message from the crew. But the actually figure was around 640 when the flight landed at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a US defence official reportedly confirmed.
The flight is one of the biggest passenger payloads on record the massive Boeing cargo plane. The current record is held by a C-17 Globemaster flight that evacuated 670 people from Philippines after a typhoon in 2013.
The procedure that the plane’s pilots used to carry so many people is known as “floor loading” where cargo straps act as makeshift belts for passengers.
Earlier, horrific images emerged from the Kabul Airport where at least 5 people died amid stampede and chaos while videos surfaced of two people falling to death from the wheel of an aircraft in mid-flight.