Friday, November 30, 2007

Update - Crash In Southern Turkey Kills All 57 On board

Update: A 6 week-old baby was not included in the original death toll which brings the total dead to 57.

An MD-83 crashed 7 miles short of landing in clear weather to Isparta (ISE) Turkey.

Video of the crash site shows the plane fuselage mostly intact in the center section without evidence of fire.

"ISPARTA, Turkey (Reuters) - A Turkish domestic airliner crashed in the mountains in south-west Turkey on Friday, killing all 56 people on board, officials said.

Private AtlasJet Airlines Chief Executive Tuncay Doganer said the cause of the crash was not clear as weather conditions were normal and the aircraft had no known technical problems.

Officials said all on board were Turkish.

The 165-seat MD 83 plane, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, crashed in the early hours of Friday before it was due to land in the city of Isparta. It had been flying from Istanbul with 49 passengers and seven crew.

The crash occurred outside Keciborlu, a town some 12 km (7.5 miles) from Isparta's Suleyman Demirel airport.

The aircraft's black box should explain what happened, Doganer told reporters.
Turkey is in the grip of winter with snow and fog common on higher ground across much of the country.

"No matter what measures you take, plane accidents happen and we see that 80 to 85 percent are due to human error," said Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, adding regular inspections had been carried out on the leased plane.

Rescue workers reached the mountainous crash site after military helicopters spotted the wreckage of the airliner.

Sahin Kartal, who lost his nephew and sister-in-law, later reached the cordoned-off site in the forested mountain.

"The authorities made us wait for news until this hour. They told us that the plane took off and then landed, but we didn't know it landed like this," Kartal told Reuters.


A reporter from state-run Anatolian news agency who arrived with a military helicopter said she saw bodies strewn around the area of the crash, with personal belongings and luggage scattered on the hillside along with aircraft debris.

Some dead passengers were still strapped to their seats.

The area was later sealed off as rescue workers began removing the bodies, which were due to be taken to local hospitals. Ambulances had arrived at the scene.

Some 300 soldiers guarded the crash site to keep people away. Many ambulances could be seen arriving.

Turkish television showed a large section of the plane, with emergency exits open, intact on the side of a forested mountain. It appeared the front and back of the aircraft were smashed.

Anxious relatives arrived at Istanbul's Ataturk airport seeking news of the passengers.

"They have great pain. This is a terrible thing, we should all support them," Istanbul deputy governor Cafer Yildiz told reporters. He said a plane carrying the relatives would fly soon to Isparta.

The aircraft disappeared from radar screens shortly before it was due to land at Isparta, about 150 km (90 miles) north of the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.

"As the plane was approaching its descent, it sought permission to land and after receiving a positive reply from the tower, contact was lost," Anatolian news agency quoted local deputy governor Tayyar Sasmaz as saying.

The aircraft was leased by Turkish-based World Focus Airlines to AtlasJet, which operates 15 planes.

(Reporting by Gareth Jones, Selcuk Gokoluk and Omer Berberoglu, writing by Paul de Bendern, editing by Myra MacDonald)
© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


This plane seemed to be going at a slow enough speed to not be completely destroyed and there was no fire.

Conjecture: Fuel starvation and/or CFIT (controlled flight into terrain).

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