A Zimbabwe-registered MD-11 freighter belonging to UK-based Avient Aviation crashed in flames on takeoff from Shanghai Pudong International Airport early Saturday morning, killing three crew members, and wounding four others, including one who remains in serious condition. The charter freight flight from Shanghai to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, was carrying general consumer products, items such as electrical goods and clothing, Avient said in a statement. Early reports indicated the tail of the three-engine jet may have struck the ground before the crash, although this remains unconfirmed. A team of US investigators, led by an expert on engines, was preparing to head to China in the next two to three days. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At this time no facts have been ascertained to identify the reasons for the accident,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Avient, adding that it continues to assist the official accident investigators charged with investigating the cause of the accident. Shanghai television footage showed black smoke billowing high into the sky after the crash with. firefighters spraying foam on the mangled wreckage of the MD-11. The aircraft had only been inducted into AvientÃ¢â‚¬™s fleet barely a week earlier, with the company stating that all flight crew had extensive experience in flying the aircraft type. It had previously operated with VarigLog and, after a period in storage at Miami International, had been prepared for its return to service by Commercial Jet at its Miami facilities. The crash will likely again focus attention on the MD-11’s spotty history of crashes. The plane is known among many pilots for having particularly sensitive flight-control systems, especially close to the ground, making it extra sensitive to sudden changes in speed and other factors like cross winds. Over the years, the US safety board has repeatedly criticized the plane’s design for being prone to upsets and vertical oscillations of flight-control systems as a result of relatively minor pilot mistakes. Most of those previous accidents, however, took place during landings such as the last major fatality involving the aircraft type when an MD-11 freighter belonging to FedEx crashed at TokyoÃ¢â‚¬™s Narita airport in March this year, killing both pilots. The crash has also re-focused attention on Avient because of allegations that it has supplied weapons to conflicts in Africa. A United Nations report in 2002 said Avient had been involved in illegal activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The British government later investigated the charges but didn’t find evidence supporting them. The company has since been accused of other illicit activities by think-tanks that investigate conflicts around the world. Avient has steadfastly denied all accusations.