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None Survive Turkish Plane Crash

Published: December 1, 2007

ISTANBUL, Nov. 30 — A Turkish passenger jet crashed in the mountains of western Turkey early Friday, killing all 57 people on board, including several prominent nuclear physicists on their way to a conference, Turkish authorities said.

The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operated by Atlasjet, an airline based in Istanbul, took off from Istanbul and disappeared from radar shortly before it was due to land at the airport in Isparta. It crashed about seven miles from the airport, near the town of Keciborlu, the authorities said. The cause of the
crash was unclear. The weather was good, airline officials said.

The plane crashed in an area that was not on its scheduled route, according to Semsettin Uzun, the governor of Isparta Province. “We don’t understand how it landed there,” he said.

The Associated Press quoted Ali Ariduru, in charge of Turkey’s civil aviation authority, as saying that there were no signs that either terrorism or sabotage had caused the crash.

The plane’s wings and engines were torn off, and were found on top of the highest peak in the area, which is about 6,000 feet high and has a communications tower, said Ismail Macika, the mayor of Keciborlu. The main fuselage came to rest 500 feet below on the mountainside.

Mr. Uzun, the provincial governor, said, “The body of the plane is there as a whole and the wings don’t exist; I have never seen anything like this.”

Authorities said that at 1:36 a.m., the pilot told the tower he saw the runway, and the tower told him to proceed, but that was the plane’s last communication with the ground.

Fifty passengers and seven crew members were on board. The passengers included nuclear physicists on their way to a conference and an infant, according to Turkish television. Engin Arik, a prominent nuclear physics professor from Bosporus University in Istanbul, was on board, The A.P. reported.

Turkish television showed soldiers with guns standing around the crash site.

Mahmut Kaya contributed reporting.



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