Turkish Airlines plane fell ‘vertically’ to ground

Dutch investigators continue to probe the crash site for more clues.
The Turkish Airlines plane that crashed this week in Amsterdam fell almost vertically to the ground, making only a short track in the muddy farmer’s field where it went down, Dutch investigators said Friday.

That sudden drop indicates the aircraft did not have enough forward speed when it crashed, a spokesman for the Dutch Safety Board said, but the reasons for that are still unclear. It is too early to speculate on the cause of the crash, spokesman Fred Sanders told CNN. Reports that it was caused by engine failure are premature, he said. “There must have been … reasons why the plane did not get enough speed,” Sanders said. “We don’t know yet why this came about, and that’s the main thing that will have to be investigated.” Wednesday’s crash of Flight 1951 from Istanbul, Turkey, to Amsterdam killed nine people and injured more than 60. The crash, less than 500 yards short of the runway, split the plane into three parts. Watch crash survivors return home »

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Weather conditions at the time were favorable. Passengers described feeling the plane suddenly drop before impact, and at least one passenger said he heard the pilot trying to give more power to the engines before the plane went down. Safety Board specialists are analyzing the flight data and voice recorders and expect to finish their work at the crash site this weekend, Sanders said. Pieces relevant to the probe will be brought to a hangar at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for further analysis. Watch how survivors described crash » The Safety Board may release preliminary findings next week, Sanders said. The nine dead included five Turks and four Americans, said Theo Weterings, the mayor of Haarlemmermeer municipality, where the airport is located. He also revised upward the total number of people on board from 134 to 135. See where 737-800 has been involved in previous incidents » There were four Boeing employees on the flight, and two were killed, the company said late Thursday in a posting on its Web site. One employee was hospitalized and the fate of the fourth employee was unknown, the company said.