Turkish airliner crashes at Amsterdam airport, 9 dead

admin   •   March 6, 2015   •   4132

Rescue workers help passengers after a Turkish Airlines passenger crashed while attempting to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport February 25, 2009. The plane broke into three parts when it hit the ground next to the runway, according to CNN Turk.
CREDIT: REUTERS/TOUSSAINT KLUITERS/UNITED PHOTOS

(Reuters) – A Turkish Airlines plane with 134 passengers and crew aboard crashed in light fog while trying to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday, killing nine people and injuring dozens.

Officials said some 84 people were taken to hospitals, including 25 who were severely hurt, when flight TK 1951 from Istanbul crashed into a field short of a runway at Schiphol, Europe’s fifth-largest airport by passenger volume.

Six were in critical condition.

“We cannot say anything about the cause at the moment,” acting local mayor Michel Bezuijen told reporters. “The priority…is providing help and care.”

The bodies of three crew members, left in the cockpit amid the plane’s wreckage for investigation, were later taken out. Dutch media said the pilot and co-pilot were among the dead.

Officials said they had found the plane’s flight data recorder and that it would be analyzed.

Earlier, Dutch officials said 135 people were on board the plane, but that was revised to 134.

Dutch television showed what appeared to be covered bodies on the ground near the crumpled, single-aisle Boeing 737-800.

At least four Americans, who work for the plane’s manufacturer Boeing, were on the plane, an official said.

The airliner lay in three parts, with the tail section of the fuselage ripped off, and a wide crack just behind the cockpit. The engines had broken off and no fire was visible.

The plane broke up when it collided with the ground north of a runway at Schiphol, which is 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Amsterdam’s center. Survivors were rushed to hospitals in Amsterdam as well as nearby Haarlem and other cities.

“We fell suddenly and stopped,” said a passenger who gave only his surname, Mutlucan. “There was a lot of screaming. We crashed and landed in what looked like a field.”

“The pilot told us we would be landing in 15 minutes, but seven or eight minutes later we hit the ground.”

LIGHT WINDS

Weather reports at the time of the crash indicated decent visibility despite misty conditions, and light winds.

“I thought it was a car collision. We heard a sort of loud and strange sound,” eyewitness Randy Cordes, 14, told Reuters. “I saw one engine that was burning but the fire died quickly.”

Officials said late on Wednesday they were still trying to confirm passenger identities, which included Dutch, Turkish and U.S. nationals.

A flight from Istanbul carrying relatives of crash victims was to land later on Wednesday.

The Turkish airliner crashed 1 mile short of the “polderbaan” runway, the furthest from terminal buildings, on an approach from the north between Schiphol and Haarlem.

Dutch Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings has said Turkish Airlines met all safety regulations at Schiphol, but added in a statement that the cause of the accident will be investigated.

“The pilot is an experienced one who is a former member of the Turkish Air Force,” Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Temel Kotil said.

Wednesday’s crash was the 11th accident involving a Turkish Airlines flight in the past 20 years, the NLR Air Traffic Safety Institute in Amsterdam said in a statement.

Turkish Airlines had a troublesome safety record in the 1970s, with 608 lives lost in around two years, but the modern airline’s safety record has improved. Wednesday’s crash was its second fatal incident this decade, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.

The crash appeared to be the worst at Schiphol since an El Al cargo plane crashed into high-rise apartment blocks in 1992, killing 43 people, 39 of them on the ground.

(Writing by Reed Stevenson; Additional reporting by Aaron Gray-Block, Niclas Mika, Catherine Hornby in Amsterdam, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Paul de Bendern and Alexandra Hudson in Istanbul, Ibon Villelabeitia in Ankara and Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

Streets deserted in Milan during coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

A handful of people were seen on the streets of Milan on Wednesday morning (March 12) following stringent measures imposed to contain the coronavirus.

Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday (March 10), the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.

Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicentre, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.

The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel until April 3, radically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicentre of the spreading contagion. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

Russian parliament backs changes allowing Putin to run again for president

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

The Russian lower house of parliament on Wednesday (March 11) gave its definitive approval to constitutional changes that allow Vladimir Putin to run for president again in 2024, something the current constitution forbids.

The 450-seat State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted in favour of the changes in a third and final reading by 383 votes.

Nobody voted against, but 43 lawmakers abstained. Twenty-four lawmakers were absent.

Putin told parliament in televised comments on Tuesday he believed a constitutional amendment that would allow him to run for president again could be adopted if Russia’s Constitutional Court did not object.

Putin is required by the constitution to step down in 2024 when his second sequential presidential term ends. (Reuters)

(Production: Mikhail Antonov, Anton Derbene)

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