Many more Afghans on record-breaking flight than first reported


KABUL – There were more Afghans crammed into a C-17 cargo plane Sunday than was first reported. The now-famous photo of the passengers showed what people at the time thought was the most people ever to fly onboard the aircraft.

Air Mobility Command issued a correction today saying that there were actually 823 Afghan citizens coming from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August, 15. This is a new record for this aircraft.

The original report said about 640 people were onboard. The initial count only included adults and not children. There were 183 kids also onboard. Air Mobility Command says that the original count was based on how many bus seats were filled departing the aircraft. They did not account for the number of children in laps.

The C-17 Globemaster III normally carries 134 passengers, including 54 on side seats and 80 on pallets on the floor, Reuters reports.

The plane was not intending to take on such a large load, but panicked Afghans who had been cleared to evacuate pulled themselves onto the C-17’s half-open ramp, a defense official told Defense One.

Instead of trying to force those refugees off the aircraft, the crew made the decision to take off, the official said.

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