February 25, 2019 / 4:06 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Two bodies recovered after Amazon cargo plane crashes into Texas bay

(Adds comment from sheriff's office, video link)

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Two bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of an Amazon Prime Air cargo plane that nosedived into a bay outside Houston on Saturday, and a search was ongoing for a third victim, authorities said.

All three people aboard the Boeing 767 cargo jetliner operated by Atlas Air Worldwide died in the crash as it approached Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Atlas and Boeing Co said in statements on Sunday.

Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told a news conference on Sunday that two bodies had been recovered and the search continued for the third person as well as the plane's black boxes.

The sheriff's office released a video bit.ly/2E7Xlyf showing fragments of the aircraft and cargo littering mudflats after the tide went out in the bay, exposing more of the crash site.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the agency obtained about five seconds of security video from a local jail that showed the crash.

"The aircraft is in the video as it's descending in a steep descent, a steep nose down attitude," Sumwault told the press briefing, adding that there was no distress call.

Asked by a reporter if the incident was "anything more than a plane crash," Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Perrye Turner said, "that's what we have right now."

The plane crashed at the north end of Trinity Bay near the small city of Anahuac, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of the airport around 12.40 p.m. (1340 EST) after taking off from Miami.

"This is a sad time for all of us," Bill Flynn, Atlas Air's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Our team continues to work closely with the NTSB, the FAA and local authorities on the ground in Houston."

Atlas Air Worldwide has been operating Boeing 767 freighters on behalf of Amazon following a 2016 deal.

Boeing said in a statement that it had sent a team to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it conducted its investigation. (Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Daniel Wallis & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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