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Turkey Aircraft Crash Investigations Continue - 2003-05-27


In Turkey, investigators continue to search for clues into the crash of an aircraft that smashed into a mountain killing all 75 on board, including Spanish peacekeepers returning home from Afghanistan. VOA-TV’s Jim Bertel reports discovery of the plane’s black boxes is expected to be helpful.

The Ukrainian plane crashed Monday in thick fog while trying to land for refueling at Trabzon airport. All of the bodies have now been recovered.

Spanish defense minister Federico Trillo was in Trabzon to help with the investigation and coordinate the repatriation of the bodies. Mr. Trillo and his Turkish counterpart visited the crash site Tuesday.

FEDERICO TRILLO, SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTER
"I would only like to reiterate the gratitude of the Spanish government and the Spanish armed forces and especially on behalf of the families of our compatriots for their splendid work, the hard work of the Turkish authorities and the specialist teams that were working here yesterday recovering the dead in so difficult, difficult circumstances.”

A team of Spanish doctors and crash investigators arrived with Mr. Trillo to assist in the investigation.

FEDERICO TRILLO, SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTER
"We are working together, the Spanish and the Turkish teams of doctors. Yesterday we recovered all the bodies and today they are identifying the bodies and I hope that perhaps tomorrow we will have to put them on a flight for Spain."

The exact cause of the pre-dawn accident is not clear, but Mr. Trillo said the bad weather, fog and strong wind, appears to have been a factor.

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