Minn. Graduate Killed in Afghanistan Cargo Plane Crash

Updated: 05/01/2013 1:53 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

A graduate of Pine Island High School has been killed in a cargo plane crash in Afghanistan.

Family members confirm to KAAL-TV 37-year-old Jeremy Lipka died Monday. He was one of seven people on the National Air Cargo plane when it went down near an Air Force base in Afghanistan. Nobody survived.

Lipka had been working for National Airlines for several years in Afghanistan hauling military supplies. The airline will be meeting with his family Wednesday.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The Dubai-bound Boeing 747-400 - operated by National Air Cargo - crashed just after takeoff Monday from Bagram Air Base around 11:20 a.m. local time, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement Tuesday.
The accident site is within the perimeter of Bagram Air Base.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for downing the plane, but NATO said the claims were false and there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.
The NTSB said it will lead a team of three investigators to assist the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation in investigating the crash. But a ministry spokesman, Nangoialy Qalatwal, said Tuesday the ministry is not involved with the investigation because it occurred at a military and not a civilian airport.

Kaufman said the plane - owned by National Airlines, an Orlando, Fla.-based subsidiary of National Air Cargo - was carrying vehicles and other cargo. 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.