Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 Feb 25, 2009

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Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 Feb 25, 2009

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Article: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europ ... and.crash/
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (CNN) -- Investigators are trying to determine what caused the crash of an airplane with a good safety record, flown by a well-respected airline, at one of the world's most modern airports.
One of the casualties is taken from the crash site.

At least nine people were killed and 55 injured when the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed Wednesday in a field near Amsterdam's main airport, splitting into three parts, officials said.

It is too early to determine the cause of the crash but the flight data and voice recorders have been recovered, said Michel Bezuijen, acting mayor of Haarlemmermeer municipality, which is home to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

He said investigators still need to determine what, if anything, the pilots said in the moments before the crash.

The injured included both crew and passengers, he said. The names of the dead and injured will not be released before Thursday, Bezuijen said.

"It will take more time. Probably tomorrow afternoon we can tell you about the identity of the victims, including the fatalities," he said.

Another official said earlier that both pilots and an apprentice pilot are among the dead.

"There are still three crew members in the cabin," said Bob Steensma of the Dutch Justice Department. "I'm sorry to say they are dead. We leave them there because we have to investigate the cockpit before we take the cockpit apart."

Turkish Airlines said earlier the plane was carrying 134 people -- 127 passengers and seven crew members.

Six people were critically injured, Ineke Van Der Zande of Amsterdam Emergency Services told reporters at a briefing. Video Watch aeriels from the crash site »

Twenty-five passengers were severely injured, she said, and 24 were lightly injured. Some 60 ambulances transported 84 people to 11 hospitals throughout the region, she said. There was no word on injuries to the others who were transported.

Witnesses said they saw the nose of the plane pitch up suddenly before the crash, according to RTL journalist Greg Crouch.
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The plane broken into three pieces. One break was in front of the wing, splitting the "Turkish" logo in two, and a larger break was farther back along the fuselage.

Most of the injured were seated toward the back of the plane, which sustained the most damage, a passenger on the plane told Turkish station NTV.

Many of the passengers simply walked off the plane through the cracks in the fuselage, witnesses said.

A passenger on the plane who spoke to Turkish network DHA said he saw injured people trapped and squeezed between the seats when he walked out. iReport: Send your videos, stories

Flight 1951 was arriving at Schiphol from Istanbul, Turkey, when it went down around 10:40 a.m. (4:40 a.m. ET). It came to rest in a farmer's field about 500 yards short of the runway, near the major A9 highway.

Crouch said the weather at the time was partly sunny with no wind or rain. No fire broke out after the crash, Bezuijen said. Video Watch how Twitter was first to report the crash »

A bank manager who was a passenger on the plane told NTV that there were no emergency announcements. The crew's last word to the cabin was an announcement to fasten their seat belts and prepare for landing, the bank manager said.

He said he felt the pilot giving more power to the engines before feeling "turbulence," then a sudden drop. He described the crash as similar to a sudden impact that was over in a matter of seconds.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to Amsterdam to assist in the crash investigation.

The Boeing 737-800 is a reliable aircraft that has been successful and safe in service, said aviation expert Kieran Daly of Air Transport Intelligence.

"They really are pretty much state-of-the-art airlines with every imaginable technical benefit the industry has come up with over the years," Daly told CNN. "You would be optimistic that they would be quite survivable in an accident."

Daly said Turkish Airlines, a national carrier, has a "very good record."

Turkish Airlines said it has 52 Boeing 737-800s in its fleet. They can carry as many as 165 passengers each, it said.

Before Wednesday, the airline's last accident was of a small commuter jet in 2003, Daly said. It was a fatal crash that happened at a remote airfield in southeastern Turkey, he said.

"Their mainline operation is safe," Daly said. "Their pilots are well thought of."

Worldwide, there have been two fatal commercial airline crashes this year.

The last previous fatal incident at the Amsterdam airport happened in April 1994 when a KLM aircraft crashed as it tried to return to Schiphol shortly after takeoff. Three of the 24 passengers and crew members on board were killed.
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