Initial findings of Turkish plane crash: Pilot was unaware of position in fog
The pilot of the Turkish Airlines plane which crashed last week in heavy fog was not fully aware of the airplane's position as he was coming in to land at a runway he could not see, Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said Monday.
An analysis of the cockpit voice recorder indicated that "the pilot did not fully know the position of the plane," Yildirim told a press conference in Ankara to announce the initial findings of an investigation into the cause of the tragedy.
A total of 75 people and crew were burnt to death when the plane, on a flight from Istanbul, ploughed into the ground on January 8 as it was coming in to land at Diyarbakir airport, in southeastern Turkey. Five people survived.
A transcript of the dialogue between the control tower and the plane revealed that the pilots could not see the runway even though they had reached the minimum descent altitude foreseen in its flight plan, Yildirim said. The crew did not request any radar assistance for the planned landing, he added.
Even though meteorological conditions at the airport were favorable, there was "heavy local fog" on the route of the plane's descent, the minister said. "Local fog means a situation where visibility is below 300 meters," Yildrim said, according to AFP.
However, the minister refused to pin responsibility for the crash solely on pilot error, adding that all information related to the flight and the plane's technical equipment were still being analyzed.
"It is too early to say that the crash was completely the result of pilot error," Yildirim said. "The cause of the crash will become evident in the final report," he concluded. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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