Nine killed as Turkish plane crashes at Amsterdam

February 26th, 2009 - 5:58 am ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, Feb 26 (DPA) At least nine people were killed and more than 80 others injured, 31 of them seriously, when a Turkish Airlines plane crashed near Schiphol airport just before landing Wednesday.Flight TK 1951 had 134 people on board, comprising 127 passengers and seven crew, and crashed on its approach to the airport at 10.31 a.m. (0931), a press conference at the airport was told.

Three of the dead were the pilot, co-pilot and a trainee pilot of the Boeing 737-800, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed later in Ankara.

Among the 80 injured, six were in a critical condition and may not survive, the head of the emergency team told reporters at the airport.

The condition of a further 25 passengers was described as “serious”, 24 passengers sustained light injuries, while the condition of 31 passengers still had to be established.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday night, mayor of local community Haarlemmermeer Theo Weterings praised the emergency and rescue team for their “quick and professional work”.

Weterings said no information about the identity of victims and the injured would be released until Thursday.

“We have not yet completed a full comparison between the passenger list given to us by Turkish Airlines and the list of people we drafted here in the Netherlands,” Weterings said.

The plane’s flight recorder has already been recovered, according to local media reports.

Sixty ambulances transported victims to 11 hospitals in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Hoofddorp, Utrecht, Leiden and Beverwijk. A total of 150 emergency personnel were involved in rescuing passengers from the wrecked plane, which ploughed into a muddy field near the A9 highway.

Local mayor for the district where the plane crashed, Michel Bezuijen, said the Dutch authorities were still analysing the passenger list and could not disclose more information about their nationality and identity.

The plane, coming from Istanbul, crash-landed in a soggy field some 600 metres short of the runway, with its fuselage breaking up into three sections.

Earlier in the morning there had been conflicting accounts of the possible death toll. Turkish Airlines and Turkey’s Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim initially said there had been no fatalities.

Witness 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.”

Residents who rushed to the crash site to offer help before the ambulances arrived, said that among the survivors were Dutch, Turkish and US nationals.

Air traffic to and from Schiphol remained limited following the crash. Several incoming flights were directed to Rotterdam Airport.

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