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Schiphol Crash: Turkish Plane Crashes In Amsterdam (SLIDESHOW, VIDEO)

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UPDATE: 1:30 pm

The pilots of a Turkish airlines flight that crashed in Amsterdam today were among the 9 killed, reports Times Online.

"There are still three crew members in the cabin. I'm sorry to say that they are dead," said one of the investigators, at a press conference at Schiphol.

"We are leaving them there because we have to investigate the cockpit before we take the cockpit apart."

The pilots may have been killed by the nose wheel being forced up into the cockpit during the very hard landing. The nose wheel normally shears off in a crash, unless the vertical speed is so great that it is forced upwards.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the crash has shocked the country, and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will be visiting the site this evening. It also reports that the airplane's black box has been found and is being investigated.

The black box has been retrieved, but officials say it is unclear why the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, en route from Istanbul, crashed. It landed short of the runway near the A9 motorway, breaking into three pieces as it came down in a field, but did not catch fire.

The most recent technical report says there were no visible defects in the aircraft; Turkish Airlines has had 13 crashes since 1959, a safety record not much different to that of airlines such as Air France-KLM.

Hurriyet Daily News has a list of the 10 most significant plane crashes in Europe in the past three years, and BBC News has aerial images of the scene.


From earlier:

A Turkish airlines plane carrying 135 people crashed while trying to land at Amsterdam's main airport, Schiphol, on Wednesday. The AP reports that 9 people have died and more than 50 were injured. The flight left Istanbul early Wednesday morning. Continue to check back as this is breaking news.

The aircraft fractured into three pieces on impact. The fuselage split in two, close to the cockpit, and the tail broke off. One engine was visible lying almost intact near the wreck in the muddy field and the other was some 200 yards (200 meters) from the plane and heavily damaged, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said.

...

Candan Karlitekin, the head of the airline's board of directors, told reporters in Turkey that visibility was good at the time of landing.

"Visibility was clear and around 5,000 yards (4,500 meters). Some 550 yards (500 meters) before landing; the plane landed on a field instead of the runway," he said.

Here is a slideshow of the accident.

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Here is a video from AP.

The BBC has a map of the airport and details about the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight TK1951.

The crash happened at approximately 1030 local time. The plane was making its final approach to runway 36L when it crash landed in a ploughed field close to the A9 motorway and broke into three pieces.

Helpers arrived at the scene very quickly and gave first aid on the spot.

...

All flights at the airport were suspended immediately after the crash.

The cause of the accident is not known yet, and the weather was calm with a light drizzle, reports the New York Times.

Tuncer Mutlucan, a passenger who survived the crash, told NTV, a private broadcaster in Turkey, "It was the back of the plane that hit the ground. We left the plane from the back. My colleague and I saw people stuck in between seats as we were trying to leave and we tried to help them."

" It all happened in something like ten seconds," Mr. Mutlucan said

Candan Karlitekin, the chairman of Turkish Airlines, said most of the injured were seated at the back of the plane.

This was the third significant plane crash in the last six weeks, following the Buffalo crash on February 12 and the Hudson River landing on January 15.

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