Pilot error said caused Turkey plane crash

Türkiye Materials 11 December 2007 15:12 (UTC +04:00)

( AP ) - An initial investigation shows that pilot error caused the Nov. 30 crash of an Atlasjet plane that killed all 57 people on board, Turkish news media reported Tuesday.

Officials have said there was no indication of sabotage in the crash, which occurred in good weather minutes before the plane, on a flight from Istanbul, was scheduled to land in Isparta, southwest Turkey.

CNNTurk television and the Zaman newspaper reported that authorities say they believe the pilot became disoriented while preparing to land, but that further investigation was needed.

"The primary data suggests the pilot lost spatial consciousness," Zaman quoted an unidentified civil aviation official as saying.

The office of Ali Ariduru, head of Turkey's Civil Aviation Authority, said he was not immediately available to comment on the reports. Atlasjet, the operator of the flight, declined to comment.

The Atlasjet MD-83 was flying from Istanbul to Isparta when it crashed early on the morning of Nov. 30, killing 50 passengers and seven crew members. Authorities said the plane was off its flight path when it crashed. The wreckage was found seven miles from the airport, on a mountain around 5,000 feet high.

Atlasjet, a private airline established in 2001, operates regular flights inside Turkey and chartered flights to Europe and other foreign destinations.