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Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

Ypsilanti man among 7 killed in Afghanistan cargo plane crash

By Katrease Stafford

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the names and hometowns of all of the individuals killed in the plane crash.

The family of Ypsilanti resident Michael Sheets said he was one of seven crew members killed Monday in the U.S.-run civilian cargo plane crash in Afghanistan, reported.


Ypsilanti resident Michael Sheets was one of seven individuals killed in the Afghanistan plane crash. National Airlines, was recently based at the Willow Run Airport, pictured here.

Daniel Brenner | file photo

Sheets' family issued a written statement confirming that he was employed by National Airlines, the company that owned the plane. The family said that while there were inherent risks involved with his job, Sheets faced the risks to provide for his family.

Sheets had a fiancee, Anna Love, and two children.

The Associated Press reported Sheets was the loadmaster of the flight and responsible for making sure the weight and balance of the cargo was appropriate.


Michael Sheets

AP photo

The Monroe Evening News reported that Monroe resident Jamie Brokaw, 33, a first officer pilot with National Airlines, also died in the crash. Shirley Kaufman, vice president of human resources and ethics and compliance with National Airlines, confirmed Brokaw was in the cockpit and second in command of the flight crew.

The Detroit News reported that one of the pilots was Brad Hasler, 34, who got married April 14 at a Detroit restaurant in a small family ceremony. Hasler and his wife, Robin, are the parents of a 1-year-old daughter, Sloane.

According to the Associated Press, the National Airlines on Tuesday evening released the names and hometowns of the seven Americans killed in the crash:

Pilots Brad Hasler of Trenton, Mich. and Jeremy Lipka of Brooklyn, Mich.; First Officer Rinku Summan of Canton, Mich.; loadmaster Michael Sheets of Ypsilanti, Mich.; First Officer Jamie Brokaw of Monroe, Mich.; and maintenance crew Gary Stockdale of Romulus, Mich. and Timothy Garrett of Louisville, Ky.

The seven were killed when the plane crashed Monday shortly after takeoff at an airfield in Afghanistan. previously reported that officials have said the National Transportation Safety Board will assist in an investigation to determine the cause.

The Florida-based cargo company, National Airlines, said its Boeing 747-400 plane crashed at about 7 a.m. EST at the Bagram Air Field, just north of the Afghan capital.

National was based at the Willow Run Airport, located in Ypsilanti Township and Wayne County's Van Buren Township, until January of this year. The company relocated to Orlando, Fla.

The National Airlines Family Information Call Center has been activated to support any family members requiring information. The National Airlines Family Information Call Center number is 888-705-7560.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Bob Krzewinski

Thu, May 2, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

Just watched the video of the crash. While an investigation will find the real cause of the accident, as a 29+ year airline Captain, the video shows what to me is an airplane stalling (pitching up so steep that air is going under the wings but not over the top, meaning decreased lift). Finally it does what airplanes do automatically when they stall, pitching down to try and regain lift. The rocking back and forth after the stall break is sort of normal in a stall too, until the aircraft regains lift and speed to make it more stable. In airline flying, one thing you learn is to never, ever get close to stalling a swept wing aircraft as loads of altitude are needed to recover. Modern day airliners also have stick shakers that warn of a stall about to happen, and a stick pusher that pushes the nose down to regain lift. But again, if you stall, altitude is what is needed the most so close-to-the-ground stalls are not good.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

A group of young guys doing everything right! My condolences to family and friends, but especially to the children who won't have these great dads to lean on and love.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

It was heartbreaking to learn that my former student, Michael Sheets, was among those lost. My deepest sympathies go to his family. It is truly a tragic loss.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Brad Hasler was a dear friend of mine growing up. He had a very witty personality and was always a great friend. I'll miss him and always cherish the great times we had growing up. He was just married two weeks ago, and leaves behind a daughter, a step daughter and is expecting a baby in October. Very sad. My thoughts are with his family.

music to my ear

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Dear steve I am so sorry for your loss, memory will help you through the pain. maybe you can write a little book about the man and child you grew up with so when his kids get older it will be a part of their dad they didnt know having lost my dad at a young age I know they would like that and it could be good therapy for you. hang in there.

Duper Bro

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 9:36 a.m.

Has the cause of the accident been determined?

John of Saline

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

They were carrying armored vehicles. Likely one of them shifted/broke free. That's consistent with the video of the crash of the plane going abnormally nose-high, the engines straining, and then falling with no lift.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

Some of these guys were parents of young children; this always makes it extra sad. My thoughts are with their grieving families.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Looks like video of this incident has already hit the web.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

There's a dash cam video of the crash...very scary


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

I had the privilege of training with Mr. Hasler, a great guy and excellent pilot. My condolences and prayers to his family.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

Special thoughts and prayers for Mr. Michael Sheets, his fiancee, his family and friends as well as all who perished and their families and friends!