Turkish Airlines passengers give accounts of crash

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Three passengers on the Turkish Airlines flight that crashed yesterday at Schiphol tell their stories.

AMSTERDAM — Nine people were killed and more than 80 were injured when the Turkish Airways broke up on impact into three pieces as it crash-landed Wednesday near the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam

Six remain in critical condition in hospital and another 25 "seriously" wounded, Dutch authorities said.

While many among the 127 passengers and seven crew on the flight from Istanbul fought their way out of the mess of tangled wreckage, local residents and car drivers rushed to the scene.

About 40 passengers quickly escaped through a hole in the cabin caused by a wing that was ripped off, one witness told Dutch television channel NOS.

Several passengers onboard the Turkish Airways plane gave eyewitness accounts:

Mustafa Atman: (23), NS Safety Engineer from Roosendaal
We didn’t know we were making an emergency landing.

There was an announcement: We’re about to land, so we fastened our seatbelts and waited.

We didn’t know that we were making an emergency landing that was never announced. We didn’t suspect anything during the flight. Everything went smoothly. What I did notice is that we flew quite low, somewhere around 400 metres. It was12 minutes to landing. That doesn’t make much sense, and I noticed it. They could have been getting it wrong. The flight went perfectly otherwise.

When the plane was descending, we felt some turbulence, and after a few seconds there was a big crash. We went straight to the emergency exit because we thought there might be a fire. I smelled kerosene, but there was no fire.

As soon as we were outside, we ran right back in again. I heard screaming from passengers in the front of the plane. That was where all the noise was coming from, not from the middle, where the plane was still intact.

We pulled passengers from between the stools. One of them was up to his knees in the mud. We really had to dig him out. There were also children in the plane. Some of them were walking around. We carried them outside.

I carried someone with a broken leg out of the front of the plane. I don’t know if I saw any dead people. It was all so, so….. Within 20, 25 minutes medical help arrived.

Mustafa Bahcecioglu (Age and profession not given)
Someone woke me up, and then 10 seconds later we landed with a bang on the ground. I left the plane with a group through an exit door. We helped women and children out of the plane. There are definitely dead people. I know it. And many, many injured. There was screaming and blood everywhere. I feel like I’ve won the lottery. It’s a miracle that there’s nothing wrong with me.

Henk Heijloo (60), Financial Consultant from Heelsum
I didn’t see the crash coming. It was a restful flight. The pilot said that we were going to land, and that we needed to return to our seats, and fasten our seatbelts. I looked for my mobile phone in my jacket on the empty chair next to me, and then there was a sudden jerk, to the left, and then upwards. It was as if the pilot was trying to start up again. A fraction of a second later it happened. There was a bang. I flew up. Everything spun around. I moved my arms and legs, and felt my head. I was intact. If you’ve ever been in a car accident, that’s what it smelled like. Like gunpowder and the talcum powder of released airbags. There was no panic. People were moaning. In the back of the plane, far away, someone was screaming.

The man next to me said: Open the shutter. The plane’s going to break into flames. I was sitting in the best place, right next to the emergency exit, near the left wing, in row 12. I asked for that seat for extra leg room; I’m 1.88 metres tall. I opened the emergency exit, but couldn’t get out. I was stuck in my seatbelt. The man next to me helped. I went outside, and so did he. I slid from the slide, and ran through the mud. I kept thinking that the plane was going to burst into flames, but it didn’t. About 40 to 50 people followed me.”

NRC Handelsblad / AFP / Lila Lundquist / Expatica

View Radio Netherlands Worldwide's reportage of the crash.

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