February 25th, 2009

RISK-i Update: Plane Crash, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted at 3:00 PM ET

Type of Event: Plane Accident
Date of Event: 25/02/2009
Location: Schiphol International Airport, Amsterdam
Number Killed: 9 confirmed dead
Damage Estimate: -
Insured Loss Estimate: -
Insured: Turkish Airlines
Carriers: -


A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 carrying at least 134 passengers, including crew members, crashed earlier today while attempting to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol international airport. According to Dutch airport authorities, there have been nine confirmed fatalities and 50 casualties, of who 25 are thought to be seriously injured.

The Turkish Airlines flight TK1951 left Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport at 08:22 am local time (06:22 GMT) and was due to have landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at 10:30 am local time (09:30 GMT). According to officials in Turkey’s transport ministry, there were around 56 foreigners and 78 Turkish nationals on board the plane, which is reported to be 7 years old. There are discrepancies amongst reports as to the numbers of people that were aboard the plane, ranging from 134 to 143.

Officials said that the Boeing 737-800 came down at around 10:40 local time (09:40 GMT), in fields about half a kilometer (0.3 miles) short of the main runway near the A9 motorway. Weather conditions at the time were reported to be normal. The plane reportedly broke into three pieces upon impact, but did not catch fire.

According to reports from the scene, emergency services responded quickly to the crash at Europe’s fifth busiest airport. Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Candan Karlitekin, told a televised press conference in Istanbul that the 9 victims included crew members. Karlitekin’s announcement came after an earlier statement from Turkey’s Transport Minister, saying that there had been no loss of life.

Officials have stated that the cause of the plane’s crash is not known at this early stage. Mr. Karlitekin told reporters in Turkey that visibility was good at the time of landing and also confirmed that there were no problems highlighted in the plane’s documentation concerning maintenance. In addition, a Turkish Airlines spokesman said that the plane’s captain, Hasan Tahsin, is very experienced and a former air force pilot.

A spokesman of the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations, said that the crash appears to have occurred in an unusual circumstance, but stressed that he would wait for the results of the investigation into the causes leading up to the accident.

Following the crash, all flights from the airport were cancelled, but traffic has since resumed.

Reports said that the Boeing 737 is a short to medium range, single aisle, narrow body jet airliner. First designed in 1964, the 737 entered service in 1968 and has become the most ordered and produced commercial passenger jet in the world. According to an Air Transport Intelligence spokesman, the Boeing 737-800 is a reliable aircraft that has been successful and safe in service. The spokesman added that the Turkish aviation industry has a “pretty good record” of safety and that Turkish Airlines itself has a “very good record”.

According to sources, Turkish Airline’s last accident involved a small commuter jet in 2003 which was involved in a fatal crash that happened at a remote airfield in eastern Turkey.

According to sources at CNN, the last accident at Schiphol Airport occurred in December 2003 and involved an EasyJet flight carrying 103 passengers. There were no fatalities, although the incident caused significant damage to the aircraft.

Sources: BBC News, CNN News, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, Reuters News, Xinhua News Agency

Guy Carpenter’s Instrat® department provides CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Instrat also provides RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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