Investigations into Turkish Airlines crash continue

February 27th, 2009 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, Feb 27 (DPA) Investigators continued to search the wreckage of the Turkish Airlines plane which crashed a few hundred metres short of the runway at Schiphol Airport Wednesday, killing nine people, amid speculation about what caused the crash.
Investigators of the Dutch Safety Board, which investigates all major accidents in the Netherlands, were at the crash scene Thursday and the plane was to remain at the site for further investigations expected to last at least until Sunday.

The board said it would publish details of the analysis it made of flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder by early next week.

Spokeswoman Sandra Groendendal said work on the recorders was still “in progress. No information can be released yet, but we will provide more information on Monday or Tuesday”.

Air traffic on the Polderbaan runway where the Boeing 737-800 crashed will not be resumed until the aircraft’s wreckage has been removed, airport officials said.

Meanwhile authorities confirmed the nine killed in the crash were five Turkish and four US citizens. Mayor of the local municipality of Haarlemmermeer Theo Weterings said there was neither confirmation nor denial that two of the US citizens were Boeing employees.

Weterings said the precise identification of each individual victim still required more time. “Only after this has been completed will we release the names,” he said.

The mayor said the nationalities of all critically injured were also known now, though their precise identities had not yet been established. The nationality of two passengers remains still unknown.

Weterings said the aircraft carried one passenger not registered on the list, bringing the total number of passengers to 135.

The plane was carrying 53 Dutch and 51 Turkish nationals. There were also passengers from Italy, Germany and Taiwan. Weterings said 63 people were still being treated in various hospitals, including six who were critically injured.

With no official information yet provided by crash investigators, speculation - fed by reports from eyewitnesses on the ground - continued about what caused the plane to go down short of the runway.

Several people told the Dutch media their attention was initially drawn to the plane because they heard it flying unusually low and relatively making a lot of noise, followed by silence.

Speaking in a late night current affairs show on Dutch television, Hans Tettero of the Dutch pilots association said this might indicate a complete and sudden failure of both engines.

He added this could have had several reasons, including possible human error, a blockage of fuel to the engines, or that the plane simply ran out of fuel, either due to leakage or not enough fuel having been taken on board for the flight.

But Tettero believed that insufficient fuel intake was not a likely cause because “airlines maintain an absolute minimum of 30 to 45 minutes extra flying time when calculating the required fuel.”

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