Human remains found in wheel well of plane from Afghanistan

Human remains were found in the wheel well of a U.S. military aircraft that departed Kabul on Monday as hundreds of Afghans scrambled towards the plane seeking a way out. It was the same plane featured in viral videos of Afghans clamoring to get on board. 

The Air Force announced Tuesday that the discovery of remains and the online videos showing people falling off the plane upon departure has prompted the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to review all available information to better understand how this happened. 

The viral video of Afghans running alongside the plane and then what looks like bodies dropping from the plane as it takes off have fueled criticism of this week’s chaotic evacuation. 

The Air Force said that on Monday, the C-17 Globemaster aircraft landed at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to deliver a load of equipment to support evacuation efforts. 

kabul-airport-sudhir-chaudhary.jpg
Bedlam at the airport in Kabul on Sunday, August 15, 2021 as Afghans sought to flee Taliban rule.  Sudhir Chaudhary

Before the crew could offload the cargo, the aircraft was surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians who had breached the airport perimeter. The C-17 crew decided to depart as quickly as possible, according to the statement from the Air Force.  There were no civilians on board. 

The remains were found in the wheel well once the aircraft landed at Al Udeid Air Base in  Qatar. The Air Force is impounding the plane to collect the remains and to inspect the plane. 

The Office of Special Investigations is leading the review in coordination with the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command as well as international partners. In addition, the Air Mobility Command will look at how events unfolded to ensure this doesn’t happen again during evacuations from Afghanistan.