The fact that the Turkish Airlines plane which crashed at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning lost height and power very suddenly has led the Dutch head of the accident investigation team to suspect engine trouble.
The plane, which crashed into a field around one kilometre short of the runway at Shiphol, was carrying a total of 135 people.
Nine dead, 50 injured
Apart from two people whose nationalities are still unclear, there were 60 Dutch, 51 Turish, 1 German, 7 US, 3 British, 1 Bulgarian, 1 Finnish, 1 Italian, 1 Taiwan, 4 Iranian, 1 Sudanese and 2 Syrian passport holders.
Dutch authorities have announced that nine people died, four of them carrying a US passport, and five of Turkish nationality. While the names of the victims will be released to their families first, it is known that all three Turkish pilots lost their lives in the crash: Hasan Tahsin Arısan, Olgay Özgür and Murat Sezer.
Turkish media lauds sensitivity of Dutch government
Several Turkish newspapers emphasised the humanity of allowing the families of the deceased privacy and not making them find out via the media. The Radikal newspaper recounted several times of crisis where relatives were forced to wait in front of the television or run from hospital to hospital to examine lists of the dead to see whether family members had survived, such as after the bombing in Güngören, Istanbul, last year, or the attack on a synagogue, the British Consulate and the HSBC bank in 2003.
Fifty people were injured in the crash, 25 of them seriously.
On Thursday night, 10 people involved in the crash returned to Istanbul on two separate flights. Two were of Iranian nationality.
A greater disaster prevented
Flight experts have commented that the experience of two of the pilots prevented a greater disaster. The plane was landed so as to touch down with its tail first. This, as well as the landing in a muddy field, prevented the fuel tanks from exploding.
Criticism of airline management
Meanwhile, the Trade Union for Civilian Aviation (Hava-İş) has called for the Turkish Airlines management to resign.
Trade union president Atilay Ayçin criticised the lack of crisis management. In addition, he complained that Turkish Airlines employees are being overworked, resulting in a decrease in air safety.
The aggressive growth of the airline company and the fact that it has handed over maintenance and services to other companies means that safety is compromised. (TK/AG)
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