Turkish investigators have concluded that the crash of a Turkish Airlines Avro RJ100 on 8 January 2003, was the result of crew error, Flight International reports. The RJ100, TC-THG (msn E3241), hit the ground short of the runway while attempting to land in thick fog at Diyarbakir, in southeast Turkey. 74 of 75 the passengers and four of the five crew on board were killed. The investigation showed that the Captain descended below minimum descent altitude (MDA) while making a non-precision approach to Diyarbakir’s runway 34. The Captain continued the approach despite a warning from the First Officer about the MDA, apparently confusing the airport’s border lamps for the runway lights. Visibility was only about 1km in thick fog. After a second warning from the First Officer, the Captain decided to go around, but it was too late. The aircraft hit the ground just short of the runway, broke apart, and burst into flames. THY has a blemished safety record, having lost six aircraft in the last 20 years, including two Boeing 737s and two other Avro RJs in the last decade (fortunately, both previous RJ accidents had no fatalities). The Diyarbakir accident is remarkably similar to that of Crossair Avro RJ100 HB-IXM at Zürich on 24 November 2001. It, too, hit the ground while undertaking a non-precision approach in poor weather after the pilot opted to descend below the MDA.
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