Sat, Feb 28, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Engine eyed in plane crash probe

AP , AMSTERDAM

Investigators inspect the wreckage of a Turkish Airlines plane on Thursday as the probe into Wednesday’s crash near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport continued. The crash killed nine people and injured 84. Officials said on Thursday that engine trouble may have caused the accident.

PHOTO: EPA

Engine trouble may have caused the Turkish Airlines crash that killed nine people in the Netherlands, the head of the agency investigating the accident said on Thursday. Other officials identified the dead as five Turks and four Americans.

Flight TK1951 from Istanbul crashed about 1.5km short of the runway at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Wednesday morning, smashing into three pieces and spraying luggage and debris across a field. It was carrying 135 passengers and crew.

Chief investigator Pieter van Vollenhoven was quoted by Dutch state television NOS as saying the Boeing 737-800 had fallen almost directly from the sky, which pointed toward the plane’s engines having stopped.

He said a reason for that had not yet been established.

Spokeswoman Sandra Groenendal of the Dutch Safety Authority confirmed his remarks but said engine failure on the was still only “one of the possible scenarios.”

Van Vollenhoven said his agency would probably not make a preliminary finding until next week.

“We hope to have a firmer grip as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the information retrieved from the plane’s flight data recorders was of high quality.

Survivors say engine noise seemed to stop, the plane shuddered and then simply fell out of the sky tail-first.

Haarlemmermeer Mayor Theo Weterings said five Turks and four Americans were killed in the crash. He said that the names of the victims would not be released until the bodies have been formally identified.

Boeing Co said late on Thursday that two of its employees were killed and third injured in the crash. Boeing previously provided the names of its four employees who were aboard the plane, but its latest statement did not specify which were killed or injured.

Haarlemmermeer also said on Thursday that investigators now say 135 passengers and crew were on the flight, not 134 as previously believed, which was one reason it had taken so long to account for the dead.

One survivor, Henk Heijloo, said the last message he heard from the captain was for flight crew to take their seats. He said it took him time to realize the landing had gone wrong.

“We were coming in at an odd angle, and I felt the pilot give the plane more gas,” he said.

He thought the pilot might have been trying to abort the landing, because the nose came up. Then he realized the landing was too rough to be normal and a moment later he felt an enormous crash. He walked away apparently uninjured, but his body began aching on Thursday.

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