Turkish Airlines Flight 634
The aircraft involved in the accident, at Budapest Ferihegy Airport in February 2001.
|Date||8 January 2003|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain caused by pilot error in poor weather conditions|
|Site||near Diyarbakır Airport, Turkey
|Aircraft type||Avro RJ100|
|Flight origin||Atatürk Airport Istanbul, Turkey|
|Destination||Diyarbakır Airport, Turkey|
Turkish Airlines Flight 634 was a Turkish Airlines domestic scheduled flight from Atatürk Airport Istanbul to Diyarbakır Airport in Turkey. On 8 January 2003 it was operated by Avro RJ100 TC-THG, which crashed in extensive fog during its final approach to land. All five of the crew and seventy of the seventy-five passengers lost their lives; five passengers survived with serious injuries.
Approach and crash
Having left Istanbul at 18:35 EET (16:35 UTC) for the nearly two-hour flight to Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey, the pilots made en route navigation planning to execute a missed approach and alternate airport diversion if necessary in addition to the standard VOR-DME approach at a distance of around 70 nmi (130 km) from the airport before contacting the air traffic control.
TK 634 reported to the airport's approach control at a distance of 8 nmi (15 km) that it had reached the initial approach fix (IAF). The control tower instructed the aircraft to continue the approach and to report when sufficient visual reference to the runway was obtained. This conversation was confirmed by the aircraft and the tower.
Continuing to descend and approach, the aircraft reached its minimum descent altitude (MDA) at 2,800 ft (850 m). At this altitude, both pilots expressed that there was no visual reference to the runway. The public/military airport was not equipped with instrument landing system.
Conversation in the cockpit recorded by the CVR revealed that the commanding pilot was unable to identify the runway and the approach lighting system. He noticed what appeared to be the threshold of Runway 16, but nothing from the other runway.
At 20:19 EET (18:19 UTC) on final approach to the Runway 34 in heavy fog, the TC-THG struck the ground, which has a slightly uphill slope of around 10%, with its mid underside of fuselage and undercarriage open.
The crash site was located 900 m (3,000 ft) from the threshold of the Runway 34 just in direction of the VOR and some 30 m (98 ft) on the left side of the approach lighting system. At this time, the aircraft's speed was 131 kn (243 km/h).
Following the crash, the aircraft continued 200 m (660 ft) as it disintegrated. The aircraft frame broke up in three major pieces, which caught fire and spread out in area of 800 m2 (8,600 sq ft). An explosion occurred after the crash and most of the bodies were burnt due to the fire.
Two pilots, three flight attendants and sixty-nine passengers were killed at the crash. Six passengers survived, but with serious injures. An infant died the next day in the hospital.
It was the worst accident involving a BAe-146, and third worst aircraft accident in Turkey at that time.
Crew and passengers
Personnel of the 2nd Tactical Air Force Command stationed at the Diyarbakır Air Base rushed to the crash site and transported the injured victims by ambulance to Diyarbakır State Hospital, Dicle University's Faculty of Medicine Hospital and Diyarbakır Military Hospital.
Aliye İl, a surviving passenger, told that during the landing phase the aircraft crashed with a very loud noise and broke up in pieces. She fell on a pile of hay not far from the burning wreckage. Then an explosion occurred and the hay she was lying on also caught fire. She tumbled down over to the field beside. She saw two men who had survived. Later, she was rescued and transported to a hospital by military personnel.
The crash investigation carried out by the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority concluded that:
- The pilots insisted on landing at the MDA of 2,800 ft (850 m) despite insufficient visual reference to the runway and its environment,
- Bad weather conditions contributed to the cause of the accident.
The aircraft, an Avro RJ100 with four Lycoming LF507-1F turbofan engines, was built by British Aerospace with manufacturer serial number E.3241, and made its first flight on 4 March 1994. It was owned by Trident Jet (Dublin) Limited.
- "Aircraft accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- "Kaza Kırım (TC-THG 08.01.2003)" (in Turkish). Sivil Havacılık Genel Müdürlüğü. 25 October 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2008.[dead link]
- "Turkish Airlines plane crashes, 75 dead, 5 survivors". CNN. 8 January 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Sadece 10 havalimanında ILS var" (in Turkish). NTV MSNBC. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- "Diyarbakır'da THY uçağı düştü" (in Turkish). NTV MSNBC. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- "Scot killed in Turkey air crash". BBC. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- "Diyarbakır'daki Uçak Kazasında Ölen 75 Kişiden 61'i Teşhis edildi". Haber Vitrini. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- (Turkish) Final accident report (Archive) – Directorate General of Civil Aviation