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 the evacuation crowd around the airplane.
The flight is one of the biggest passenger payloads on record for the massive Boeing cargo plane. The current record is held by a C-17 Globemaster flight that evacuated 670 people from the 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.
Meanwhile, at least five people have been killed at the Kabul airport and three stowaways were reported to have fallen to their deaths from an airborne plane as thousands of Afghans are desperately trying to get on flights out of the country amid increasingly chaotic scenes, the Daily Mail reported on Monday.
Footage published by Asvaka showed three stowaways falling to their deaths after clinging on to the wheels of a military plane as it took off from Kabul airport.
Panicked Afghans were also seen climbing up the outside of an air bridge in a bid to get on board planes and chasing a US military C-17 down the runway.
Videos also showed hundreds of people running alongside, and in front of, a US Air Force plane preparing to take off, the Daily Mail report said.
– THE STATESMAN