Nothing seemed amiss on a Turkish jetliner heading for Amsterdam yesterday until the big plane suddenly "lurched downward" with a sickening pull and smoke poured into the cabin, a passenger told the Guardian. "People were panicking and then we hit the ground," said the traveler, whose daughter burst into tears as the jet plunged. "The plane just broke into pieces and, thank God, we managed to get out. It's miraculous."
Only nine of the 134 people on board perished in the crash. "The chance of survival in plane accidents is close to zero," said a Turkish transport spokesman. "The fact that the plane crashed on soft ground and that there was no fire decreased the death toll." A student cycling past as the jet fell from the sky said the aircraft seemed to have lost power. Investigators are studying the crash site and analyzing the black box recovered at the scene.