February 26th, 2009

RISK-i Update: Plane Crash, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted at 1:00 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: Hull reportedly valued at USD47 million.
Insured: Turkish Airlines
Carriers: Reportedly include Allianz and Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers Ltd.


A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 carrying 127 passengers and seven crew members crashed at around 10:40 local time (09:40 UTC) on 25 February while attempting to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol international airport. According to recent reports, there are nine confirmed fatalities and 86 casualties. Of the injured survivors, six were in a critical condition and 25 were seriously hurt. An airport police spokesman said that details about the passengers who died would be released at a press conference later on Thursday, February 26, 2009. All three of the aircraft’s pilots are reported to have died in the crash.

It was reported in Insurance Day that the Turkish Airlines aircraft, reported to be seven years old, suffered a complete break-up of the fuselage on impact and was insured under a policy lead by insurer Allianz, and that other insurers taking a slice of the loss include Global Aerospace Underwriting Limited. According to Insurance Day, sources said the hull value of the Boeing 737-800 was USD47 million.

The Turkish Airlines flight TK1951 left Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport at 08:22 local time (06:22 UTC) on February 25, 2009 and was due to have landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at 10:30 am local time (09:30 UTC). Dutch authorities said that there were 72 Turkish nationals and 32 Dutch citizens on board the plane, in addition to several other nationalities.

Reports said that the Boeing 737-800 came down at around 10:40 local time (09:40 UTC) on 25 February, in fields around 3 kilometers (2 miles) short of the main runway at Schiphol airport. Weather conditions at the time of the crash were reported to be normal. The plane broke into three pieces upon impact, but did not catch fire.

Officials have stated that the cause of the crash is not known at this early stage. Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer said 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. A Turkish Airlines spokesman said that the plane’s captain, Hasan Tahsin, was very experienced and a former air force pilot.

A spokesman for the Dutch Safety Authority said that the flight’s data recorders and voice tapes have been found and sent to Paris, where crash investigation experts will analyse the recordings over a number of days. The spokesman added that another investigation team was operating at the crash location, taking photos of the crash wreckage and gathering information from various sources.

The investigation into the accident will explore a wide range of possible causes, including weather-related factors, insufficient fuel, navigational errors, pilot fatigue and bird strikes. The Dutch Safety Authority spokesman said that a preliminary report may be made available soon, although the full report is not likely to be ready for months.

Reports said that the last crash involving a Turkish Airlines plane occurred in 2003, when around 75 people died in an accident in eastern Turkey. According to company figures, Turkish Airlines, a member of the world’s largest airline network - the Star Alliance, increased passenger numbers by 89 percent from 2003 to 2007.

According to Reuters News, the present crash appears to be the worst at Schiphol international airport since 1992, when an El Al Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed into high-rise apartment blocks after takeoff, killing a total of 43 people.

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

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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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