Nine killed, 86 injured in Turkish Airline crash in Holland

A Boeing 737-800 of Turkish Airlines from Istanbul has crashed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam with 135 passengers and crew on board while attempting to land. At least 9 people are dead, 86 injured of whom 25 critically. Three cockpit crew are dead.

The Boeing 737 is lying on its belly beyond a runway, inside a polder. Both engines broke off and are lying about 20 metres away from the plane. The wreckage pattern is small – indicating that it simply fell down, it did not slide. There has been no fire. Experts say it looks as though the pilot tried to make an emergency landing. Witnesses said it seemed to ‘just fall from the sky’ after it had slowed down to a very slow pace, its tail had touched the farm land first and then it just ‘fell down’ and broke into three sections.

Hero passenger:
One passenger Mustapha Bahcecioglu is apparently emerging as the big hero. He is a security expert at the Dutch railways and helped some 15 people, including children, from the plane, by crawling through the rear of the plane. He said there was no warning of any trouble, they just ‘slammed down into the field’. He said he saw ‘many people dead and badly injured’ which he could not help. The passengers were taken to a nearby barn of a farm where the triage medical personnel divided the passengers into two sections: badly injured and uninjured or slightly injured. He said the number of badly-injured passengers were many – ‘there was a lot of blood, a lot of crying, and doctors trying to save them.’ he told NOS news agency.

He felt as if he’d won the lottery’ by surviving unscathed. The plane had a lot of business people and vacationers on board, he said, including small children.

Many of the survivors had also crawled from the plane by themselves. The uninjured survivors were taken by buses to their relatives who were waiting at the airport and were being reunited at a nearby sports centre, Wildenhorst, in the nearby town of Badhoevedorp.

Schiphol ‘s runways are closed at the moment. Weather conditions can’t be blamed for the crash experts say: vision was clear, only a little bit hazy although overcast, and there is little wind. The NOS news agency of the Netherlands, says experts rate the airline as not having a good name in the aviation industry because it’s had a variety of hijackings and crashes.

Ambulances are parked on a nearby roadway because the newly-plowed farm fields are very wet. The nearby farm house has been set up as a triage emergency centre. from where ambulance personnel are taking the victims to the nearby ambulances. The plane has broken into three pieces at the rump and in the tail section, and an engine has broken away. A Turkish airlines spokesman said at least 50 passengers remained unharmed, according to the NOS news agency.

The plane crashed at 10:40 a.m. on February 25 in a polder next to the Polderbaan runway.
Passengers were seen to evacuate the plane, an eye witness said. This eye witness also said the plane crashed when it tried to land.

RTL-radio journalist Onno Beukers said the plane is lying just before the Schiphol Polderbaan runway near the A9 highway. An eye-witness told NOS TV news that the plane had been approaching this runway when it crashed into the polder. Some 20 ambulances are on the scene to provide medical help for 135 passengers, who had arrived from Turkey.

Benno Baksteen of Platform Aviation in the Netherlands says that judging from its position, it looks as if the plane attempted to make an emergency landing in the wet polder, which lies directly below the approach to the Polderbaan runway.

Schiphol airport has “difficult landing and take-off procedures because of the strict sound limitations,” he said, but Polderbaan is not known as a ‘difficult runway’.

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