Officials investigating the crash of a Boeing 727 airliner in which 154 people died have started taking evidence from eyewitnesses of the disaster on a mountainside in Turkey on Sunday (19 September).
Officials investigating the crash of a Boeing 727 airliner in which 154 people died have started taking evidence from eyewitnesses of the disaster on a mountainside in Turkey on Sunday (19 September). But so far eyewitness reports of the crash have conflicted sharply.
SYNOPSIS: There are no roads near the crash site south of the town of Isparta so the tasks for rescue workers has been difficult. Hundreds of soldiers and workers have been sifting through the wreckage of the aircraft and remains of the passengers' bodies spread over a wide area. When the crash was first reported emergency services faced sever difficulties trying to mount a rescue operation. Police and firefighters had to scramble up the 2000 metre (6,500 foot) mountainside in the dark. When they reached the wreckage the intense heat initially forced them back.
Investigators searching the wreckage of the Turkish airliner have found the flight recorder. They're hoping this will give them a clue to the crash which killed all the 0154 passengers on board, mostly Italian and Wet German holiday makers. The airliner was on a flight from Milan and Rome to the Turkish Mediterranean resort of Antalya. The task of clearing up is a gruesome one. Bodies and parts of bodies are scattered everywhere. And here have been reports of looting of the passengers' belongings.
Some eyewitnesses of the crash say that the two-year-old plane caught fire in the air, while others say it burst into flames on impact. There are opposing reports as to whether an explosion occurred in the air or after the crash.
The mayor of Isparta and town officials are among the many people who have arrived to inspect the site. Turkish Airlines sent a team of investigators including the company's general manager. Isparta's assistant public prosecutor said the Boeing was not following the usual route across the mountains and might have developed a fault over the town. Transport Minister Nahit Mentese said the last word from the pilot, a few minutes before the crash, was that he was descending from 13,000 feet (3,960 metres) to 12,000 d(3,650). The wreckage of the jet was spread over one square kilometre (0.3 square miles). It is the second major crash for Turkish Airlines. In 1974 one of its DC-10 planes came down near Paris killing all 346 people aboard in the world's biggest air disaster.