Plane Crash In Trabzon In 2003

Published: 11/19/2005


MADRID - International Investigation Commission said that tired pilots and technical shortcomings caused the plane crash which occurred in Turkey's northeastern city of Trabzon on May 26th, 2003.

The plane carrying 62 Spanish peacekeepers returning from Afghanistan crashed in Trabzon and all aboard were killed.

After the crash, an investigation commission was established by Spain, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. The commission which completed its investigation into the crash submitted its report to Spanish Defense Ministry, sources said.

Defense Secretary of State Francisco Pardo and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Felix Sanz Roldan said that they would read the report and send it to Spanish National Court, parliament and the association established by relatives of those who died in the crash.

The report underlined that crew of the plane were very tired due to long flight, stating that the first pilot was not experienced enough for this flight.

Poor weather conditions also made the flight difficult, the report added.

75 killed in Turkey plane crash

Monday May 26, 2003

A Turkish army official and a firefighter pictured at the scene of the plane crash which killed 74 people
A Turkish army official and a firefighter pictured at the scene of the plane crash which killed 78 people.
More than 70 people, most of them Spanish peacekeeping forces who had been serving in Afghanistan, were killed when the Ukrainian plane they were traveling in crashed in north-west Turkey this morning.

It is believed that 75 people died when the aircraft, which belonged to a Ukrainian company, Sredizemnomorske, came down in thick fog while attempting to make a refueling stop.

Turkish aviation officials said that the plane had been flying from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to Zaragoza, in Spain, with a stop in the Black Sea port of Trabzon.

The Russian-made YAK-42 aircraft hit a mountain slope near the town of Macka, which is 50km (30 miles) south of Trabzon.

Officials at Spain's defence ministry said that 62 Spanish soldiers were among the victims. A statement said: "We can confirm that 62 Spanish soldiers returning from Afghanistan died in the crash."

Reports in Spain said that the army troops were from an engineers regiment that had finished a four-month spell in Afghanistan.

Turkish officials reported that 12 crew members had been aboard, and military personnel who reached the scene said that there were no survivors.

Aviation officials believe that the plane crashed as it made a third attempt to land at Trabzon airport in foggy conditions.

They said that the pilot had reported being unable to see the runway during two landing attempts, before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens at 4.45am.

Turkish soldiers retrieved more than 25 bodies from the wreckage, CNN-Turk television reported. The soldiers also found the plane's black box flight recorder.

Eyewitnesses said that most of the bodies recovered from the scene had been left "in pieces or dismembered" by the plane's explosion on impact.

Turkish soldiers discovered unexploded hand grenades among the wreckage. They evacuated the crash scene amid fears of a possible explosion, CNN-Turk said.

One witness said that the plane had been burning before it crashed. "When I looked at the skies I saw a burning airplane, then two minutes later I heard two big explosions," Ergin Koyu told the Anatolia news agency.

Local official Mehmet Akkaya told the same agency that there had been no sign of any survivors as rescuers rushed to the scene.

"We looked for injured but there were only burned or torn bodies. Most of the bodies were unrecognizable," he said.