Friday, November 30, 2007

nuclear physists-what was their objective going to be?

this morning in the new york times:

None Survive Turkish Plane Crash

Published: December 1, 2007
ISTANBUL, Nov. 30 — A Turkish passenger jet crashed in the mountains of western Turkey early today, killing all 56 people on board, Turkish authorities said.

The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operated by the airline AtlasJet, took off from Istanbul and slipped off the radar shortly before it was due to land in Isparta. It crashed about seven miles from the airport, near the town of Keciborlu, the authorities said.

The cause of the crash remained a mystery. The weather was good, airline officials said. In another baffling detail, the plane crashed in an area that was not on its scheduled route.

“The body of the plane is there as a whole, and the wings don’t exist — I have never seen anything like this,” said Semsettin Uzun, the governor of the province.

An executive from AtlasJet said, “The weather was very good — this seems very suspicious.”

Forty-nine passengers and seven crew members were on board the plane. Among the passengers were six nuclear physicists on their way to a physics conference.

“The point where the plane crashed is not on the plane’s route,” Mr. Uzun said. “We don’t understand how it landed there. It has landed on the other side of the ridge.”

Authorities said that at 1:36 a.m., the pilot told the airport tower he saw the airport runway, and the tower told him to proceed, but that was the plane’s last communication with the ground.

Videotape of the crash site broadcast on Turkish television showed soldiers with guns standing around it. By noon, relatives had begun to arrive, and a woman was shown crying among the wreckage. The black box, which contains details about the crash, was located.

The Associated Press reported that the bodies of some of the passengers were still strapped to their seats.

A villager said, “We thought it was an earthquake.”

The plane appears to have come apart in the air, and different pieces had landed in different places, the authorities said. The Associated Press reported that the plane’s wings and engine were at the top of a hill while the fuselage was 500 feet lower.

Ismail Macika, mayor of Keciburnu, said in a telephone interview that the plane went down at the highest point in the area, a peak of 1,830 meters with a watch tower on top of it.

“Many bodies were taken out of the plane,” he said. “It was easy to get the bodies because the plane did not break into pieces. I saw a few bodies lying on the ground.”

.........some questions remained unaswered.