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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A Turkish aircraft with 143 onboard has crashed in an Amsterdam airport reportedly leaving nine people dead and at least 50 others injured.

The Boeing 737 crashed on Wednesday while it was only 500 meters away from the airport, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim as saying. The casualty toll was revealed at a press conference at the airport.

Some passengers were seen leaving the crash site in the Dutch capital's Schiphol airport after the passenger jet hit the ground breaking in three parts, reports said.

Officials in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport said the plane belonging to the Turkish Airways (THY) was carrying 135 passengers and eight flight crew.

"All air traffic is blocked" due to the mishap, Melanie Smieder of the airport's press service, told AFP adding that medical and firefighting teams were attending to the survivors.

A Turkish Airlines jet carrying 135 people crashed into a field on its approach to Schiphol Airport outside Amsterdam after a flight from Istanbul on Wednesday, killing nine people and injuring 50, airport authorities and Turkish officials said.

In Ankara, Suat Hayri Aka, a senior transportation official, told a news conference that 20 of the injured appeared to be in serious condition. Three of the dead were crew members, according to Turkish news reports.Television images showed the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, lying fractured into three parts after it slammed into the ground while approaching the runway. The aircraft did not catch fire.
Witnesses said the plane’s engines broke off and landed some about 100 yards from the wrecked fuselage in a plowed field.

Michel Bezuijen, acting mayor of Haarlemmermeer, close to Schiphol, told a news conference: “At this moment there are nine victims to mourn and more than 50 injured.”

He said there was no immediate word on the cause of the accident.

In the confusion following the crash, reports varied over how far the site was from the runway. Initial reports said it was three miles from the airport, but later versions put it closer.

In a statement, the Amsterdam airport authorities said the plane, Turkish Airlines flight TK1951, which left Istanbul at 8:22 a.m. on Wednesday, made a crash landing along a highway near the airport with 128 passengers and 7 crew members on board.

Flights to and from the airport, halted because of the accident, were gradually being resumed, the airport said.

The crash took place in calm weather with a light drizzle. Unlike a deadly accident in Madrid last summer when a Spanair flight crashed while taking off, no fire broke out during Wednesday’s crash.

Tuncer Mutlucan, a passenger who survived the crash, told NTV, a private broadcaster in Turkey, “It was the back of the plane that hit the ground. We left the plane from the back. My colleague and I saw people stuck in between seats as we were trying to leave and we tried to help them.”

“ It all happened in something like ten seconds,” Mr. Mutlucan said

Candan Karlitekin, the chairman of Turkish Airlines, said most of the injured were seated at the back of the plane.

“There was nothing extraordinary about the weather conditions, vision capability was 4,500 meters. Around 500 meters away from the landing strip, the plane landed in a field. The plane was broken into three parts, as you all saw in pictures.”

Mr. Kotil said that the pilot, Hasan Tahsin Ari, was one of the airline’s most experienced pilots. The company was planning a flight from to Amsterdam from Istanbul for relatives of the crash victims.