Turkish carrier Atlasjet says the Boeing MD-83 which crashed while preparing to land at Isparta early today suddenly lost contact with tower controllers during approach, adding that there is no immediate indication of a technical problem.
Flight KK4203 from Istanbul Ataturk crashed in a region of high terrain, on a 5,000ft peak west of the Kilic region and north of a village identified as Cukuroren. Kilic lies just to the northwest of Isparta Suleyman Demirel Airport.
The flight was a night-time service; it was scheduled to depart at 23:20 yesterday but the late arrival of the aircraft inbound from Pristina meant the take-off was delayed until 00:50.
Meteorological data from Isparta for the period around the time of the accident shows that weather conditions and visibility were good.
Forty-nine passengers and seven crew were on board the aircraft, leased by Atlasjet from World Focus Airlines. Three cabin crew were from Atlasjet while the other four crew members – both pilots, the cabin chief and a technician – were from World Focus.
Atlasjet chief executive Tuncay Doganer says: “Communication was established with the tower, over Isparta Airport, the airport was seen, and as from this moment communication with the aircraft [was] cut off.”
The airline was informed at 06:15 that the aircraft had crashed. Rescue teams have not found any survivors and recovery personnel have reportedly retrieved the aircraft’s flight recorders.
Doganer says the aircraft was conducting the final stage of its approach in preparation to land when contact was lost, adding there is no evidence that the aircraft had a technical problem.
He says: “The weather was moonlit and extremely appropriate for the flight. Our pilots have just returned from training and are extremely experience. It is not a point of issue that the pilots were sleepless or [lacking rest]. The [reason] as to why the aircraft could not reach the airport after seeing [it] will be determined at the end of detailed investigations.”