Turkish Military Plane Crashes, Killing 37greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Wednesday May 16 11:30 AM ET Turkish Military Plane Crashes, Killing 37
By Claudia Parsons
ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish military aircraft crashed in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, killing all 37 military personnel on board.
The armed forces' General Staff said the plane was heading from the southeastern city of Diyarbakir to the capital Ankara with six crew and 31 passengers.
It came down at around 1:15 p.m. in rolling fields near the village of Akcadag, some 300 miles east of Ankara. Police in the nearby city of Malatya said there had been no survivors.
It was the worst air disaster in Turkey since 1994, when 57 people died in a Turkish Airlines crash.
Some eyewitnesses talked of an explosion before the crash while others said the plane had lost altitude rapidly and they had feared it might crash onto the village.
``The pilot made one last maneuver to keep the plane from falling onto the village and prevented a bigger disaster,'' Ismail Ertas was quoted as saying on NTV television's Web site.
He said he had seen two pilots try to leap from the aircraft before it crashed, but that they had been unable to jump free because it had crashed vertically.
The state-run Anatolian news agency said the Casa CN-235 aircraft had been carrying a number of special forces personnel.
Diyarbakir is the center of an emergency rule region where Turkish forces have for years been fighting Kurdish rebels, although fighting has eased since 1999.
There was no suggestion of a link with the conflict, nor any immediate indication of what had caused the crash.
``It was all over when we reached the crash site with the fire brigade,'' the mayor of Akcadag, Bayram Karaaslan, told CNN Turk television.
``We have no information on the number of casualties because we are unable to count. There are only bits of bodies.''
He said the wreckage was scattered over 300-400 yards and still on fire.
``There's a suggestion it might have exploded in the air but it's not certain,'' he told NTV television.
Eyewitnesses reports were contradictory.
Omer Demir, a farmer, said the engine noise had suddenly changed before the crash.
``The plane was not on fire. It suddenly crashed into the apricot field nearby vertically and there was a big explosion,'' he was quoted as saying by NTV's Web site.
-- Carl Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 16, 2001