Nine dead, 84 injured in Turkish Airlines plane crash in Amsterdam

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Nine dead, 84 injured in Turkish Airlines plane crash in Amsterdam
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Şubat 25, 2009 12:01

A Turkish Airlines (THY) plane crashed during landing at Amsterdam’s main Schiphol Airport on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring 84 others, Dutch officials said. The plane's black boxes have been recovered. (UPDATED)

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The pilot and two co-pilots, whose bodies are still trapped inside the cockpit, are among the nine killed, the officials told a press conference.


More than 80 people were taken to 11 hospitals, emergency services spokeswoman Ineke van der Zande told a press conference at Schiphol Airport.


"Six of them are critically wounded; we cannot tell at this stage whether they will survive. Twenty-five were seriously wounded, and 24 suffered minor injuries," she said.


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The nature of injuries suffered by the others is yet to be determined, she added.


Earlier the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement ten people, including the pilot and a co-pilot, were killed in the accident.


Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he received a phone call from his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkanende who said they are doing their bests for those injured in the crash.


"Our crisis desk together with the civil aviation authorities have been monitoring the investigation carried out at the scene. The process is being closely monitored. We hope that all the injured passengers survive this accident. Our wish is that we overcome this accident with minimum damage," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara late on Wednesday.



Fred Sanders of the Dutch Safety Board told AP that the cockpit "recording equipment has been found" and will be sent to Paris for analysis.


"It is very important for the investigation, because it contains all the data recorders and the cockpit voice recorder -- information about everything that was happening during the flight," he was also quoted by AFP as saying.


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Sanders would not confirm that the pilot was trying to execute an emergency landing. "We have just started our investigation, it will take some months at least before we have information about that," he said.


The Boeing 737-800 came down at 0931 GMT in fields about half a kilometer (mile) short of the main runway, splitting in three before coming to rest near homes next to the busy A9 freeway on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the Dutch capital and largest city.


Ambulances and fire crews dashed to the crash at Europe’s fifth busiest airport, and soon found themselves filling body bags, according to reporters at the scene.

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Although the head of the carrier and Turkey’s transport minister initially said there were no fatalities, the first deputy mayor of Amsterdam, and then the Turkish Foreign Ministry said a number of people had been killed.


Officials in Turkey’s transport ministry said around 56 foreigners and 78 Turkish nationals were on board the aircraft which left Istanbul at 08:22 am (0622 GMT) bound for Amsterdam.


Turkish Airlines has said there 127 people, including a baby, and seven crew were on board the crashed flight, while Schiphol Airport and Dutch officials put the figure at 135.


Family members and friends that gathered anxiously at the airport were taken to a nearby sports hall to wait for news and survivors.


Turkish Airlines made available a special flight to Schiphol, which was due to arrive at 1710 GMT, ferrying the family members of passengers involved in the crashed plane, officials said.



According to Dutch television station NOS, some witnesses saw the planes engines fall off, after which it glided the final distance to impact with its tail angled to the ground. The engines were found some 100 meters from the rest of the wreckage. There was no fire or smoke.


Dutch officials said the cause of the crash was not yet known.


Turkish television reported the twin-engine plane had run out of fuel, but a Turkish Transport Ministry undersecretary said that was just speculation.


At a press meeting in Amsterdam, Acting Mayor Michel Bezuijen of the Haarlemmermeer municipality declined to respond to questions over whether the plane had run out of fuel.


Turkish Airlines has a good safety record. It is rated a four star airline by Skytrax, industry research advisors to the world airline and air transport industry. This is the same rating as Virgin and British Airways.


The last crash involving a Turkish Airlines plane was in 2003 when 65 people died in an accident in eastern Turkey.


Wednesday's crash appears to be the worst at Schiphol since an El Al cargo plane crashed into high-rise apartment blocks in a southeastern suburb of Amsterdam in October 1992, killing 43 people, 39 of them on the ground.



The state-run Anatolian Agency earlier reported on Wednesday that Dutch Premier Balkanende called Erdogan, and offered condolences for the people who lost their lives in the crash.


Balkanende said he personally followed the developments regarding the crash, reassuring Erdogan that Dutch authorities are providing all the necessary assistance, adding he would personally visit the injured passengers, the report also said.



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