Nine killed in Turkish Airlines plane crash (Second lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, Feb 25 (DPA) A Turkish Airlines plane with 135 people on board crashed Wednesday morning as it was approaching Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport killing at least nine people, Dutch authorities said.
The Boeing 737-800 plane, arriving from Istanbul crash-landed in a soggy field near the airport at 10.30 a.m. (0930 GMT), with its fuselage breaking up into three sections. The plane was carrying 128 passengers and seven crew members.

Eyewitness Yvonne Boogers, who was driving near the site when the crash occurred, told Dutch TV she saw the plane approaching the airport with its nose down and flying lower than usual.

“I immediately saw something was wrong. The pilot tried to pull up the nose at the last instance. Then I saw fire come out of the plane, and the next I saw was the plane lying in the field.”

Eyewitnesses said dozens of ambulances drove to and from the scene shortly after the crash, as well as three rescue helicopters.

Unconfirmed reports spoke of 40 to 50 passengers having exited the wreckage.

Local Dutch nationals living nearby who went to the plane to offer help before the ambulances arrived, said that among the survivors were Dutch, Turkish and US nationals.

The plane landed just around 600 metres from a residential area. Eyewitness Sander Paulus living nearby said he saw two bodies covered with white sheets being taken away.

Several hospitals in and around Amsterdam reported wounded had been brought in.

Johan Kortenraaij, spokesman of the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) confirmed that four injured had been brought in by 12.30 p.m. (1130 GMT), at least one of them in a serious condition.

A highway near the airport and a side road were partly closed to traffic. Air traffic to and from Schiphol remained limited following the crash.

The plane was built in 2002 and its last technical inspection was in December 2008.

The last major airplane crash in the Netherlands was on Oct 4, 1992, when an El Al cargo Boeing 747F 4X-AXG hit several high rise buildings south Amsterdam’s Bijlmer area, killing 43 people.

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