Two people have been killed after a large UPS cargo plane crashed in the US state of Alabama this morning.

The plane crashed near the airport in Birmingham, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

A fire erupted after the crash in the sparsely populated area but was quickly brought under control.

United Parcel Service Inc flight 1354, en route from Louisville, Kentucky, to Birmingham, crashed on approach early this morning.

UPS said it was "still determining the details of the incident".

A field of debris could be seen around the crash site.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell said that there were "two to three explosions after the plane caught fire, after the crash itself".

He added that there were no other casualties.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to the crash site.

UPS Airlines president Mitch Nichols said: "This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved."

He added: "We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public."

The plane was identified as an Airbus A300 and the company said it will provide technical assistance to accident investigators.

It said the aircraft involved was delivered to UPS from its production line in 2003, and had accumulated about 11,000 flight hours over about 6,800 flights.

The crash was the latest in a series of air accidents in the United States in recent months.

In July, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed while landing in San Francisco, killing three people and injuring more than 180.

Also last month, the front landing gear of a Southwest Airlines Co Boeing 737 jet collapsed on touchdown at New York City's LaGuardia Airport, injuring eight.