A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 has crashed while attempting to land at an airport in the Netherlands. There are at least nine fatalities and more than 50 people were injured.
The cause of the accident is unknown
At least nine people were killed and more than 50 people were injured, 25 of them seriously, when a Turkish Airlines plane crashed near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport just before landing.
Speaking at a press conference at the airport, the deputy mayor of the local community Haarlemmermeer, Michel Bejuijen, disclosed the casualty figures in the crash of flight TK 1951 from Istanbul.
The Boeing 737-800 had 135 people on board, 128 passengers and 7 crew members, when it crashed just 600 meters short of the runway at 10:31 a.m. (09:31 GMT).
"The chance of survival in plane accidents is close to zero," said Turkish Airlines and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, according to the Anatolia news agency. "This is a miracle."
The number of casualties was less than could have been expected because the plane hit soft, muddy ground and did not erupt in flames, Yildirim added.
"Something was wrong"
Eyewitness Yvonne Boogers, who was driving near the site when the crash occurred, told Dutch TV she saw the plane approaching the airport with its nose down and was flying lower than usual.
"I immediately saw something was wrong," she said. "The pilot tried to pull up the nose at the last instance. Then I saw fire come out of the plane, and the next I saw was the plane lying in the field."
The Turkish Airlines flight landed in a field
People living nearby who went to the plane to offer help before the ambulances arrived, said that among the survivors were Dutch, Turkish and US nationals.
Former pilot Ben Baksteen told reporters that the number of dead was relatively limited because the plane did not seem to crash.
"Rather, it looks like a premature landing," Baksteen said, referring to the fact the plane landed close to the Polderbaan runway, one of Schiphol's primary runways.
Delays at Schiphol
Air traffic to and from Schiphol, which is Europe's fifth busiest by passenger volume, remained limited following the crash. Several incoming flights were directed to Rotterdam Airport.
The plane from Turkish Airlines was built in 2002 and its last technical inspection was in December 2008.
The last major airplane crash in the Netherlands was on October 4, 1992, when an El Al cargo Boeing 747F 4X-AXG hit several high rise buildings south Amsterdam's Bijlmer area, killing 43 people after two of its engines broke off during takeoff.
Author: Mark Mattox (ap/dpa/afp/reuters)
Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn/Trinity Hartman/Sean Sinico