Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reports of 5 dead in Schiphol plane crash

There is conflicting information as to the number of fatalities following the crash of flight TK-1951. Turkish authorities in Istanbul have told reporters that there are no deaths though some reports suggest five people may have died. There was no fire after the aircraft belly flopped into a field near to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and was described by CNN’s Richard Quest as a “survivable” crash. The plane, a 737-800, broke into three parts as it hit the ground and many passengers have told of their being able to just walk from the wreckage. Others however have been trapped in the stricken plane and dozens of paramedics could be seen carrying injured passengers to awaiting ambulances. One passenger said there was “no time to panic” whilst another spoke of the plane crashing tail first with the incident lasting only a few seconds. The pilot of the Turkish Airlines plane was an ex-Turkish airforce pilot.

A CEO from Turkish Airlines told reporters that the plane had been built in 2002 and received a full inspection in 2008. He said that it was too early to speculate the cause of the crash until all the facts were known.

Details as to the numbers of casualties are sketchy at best. There were 127 passengers and 7 crew on board and many have escaped unhurt. But there is no clear information as to how many people are injured and to the extent of the injuries. Dutch television have reported that five people have died, though this has not been confirmed officially.

Sky News, BBC, CNN and al Jazeera have switched to saturation coverage of the incident. The news broke within thirty minutes of the crash but pictures did not start to filter into the television networks until 45 minutes after the crash. Nearly two hours after the incident occurred the BBC have cut away to cover other stories. France 24 provided only a short bulletin on the hour and both Russia Today and Press TV have continued with regular programming.

In the last few minutes al Jazeera played out some audio from Air Traffic Control at the time of the incident though it has shed little light as to the cause. Weather is not thought to be a factor with only light mist surrounding the airport. Accident investigators that have been willing to comment say the cause was probably technical. In January last year a Boeing 777 crash landed at Heathrow. The cause of that incident was believed to be due to ice build up in the fuel lines resulting in a sudden loss of power as the plane came into land [British Airways Flight 38 / tvnewswatch].

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