A Very Bad Day

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Two aircraft disasters yesterday brought a one-day death toll of near 100 to commercial aviation. US Airways Express Flight 5481, a Beech 1900 with 19 passengers and two crew aboard operated by Air Midwest, out of Charlotte-Douglas for Greenville-Spartanburg, crashed yesterday morning on departure, killing all aboard. Three at first thought lost on the ground have since been located in good health. Moments before the aircraft impacted a US Airways hangar and burned, pilot Katie Leslie did contact the tower to indicate an emergency, said FAA spokesman Greg Martin. However, the exact nature of the emergency was not conveyed before contact was lost. According to Airport Director Jerry Orr, the aircraft departed to the south shortly before 9 a.m. in clear, calm conditions, but turned sharply back toward the airport before striking the hangar. The aircraft had flown 21,000 cycles with 15,000 hours flight time logged over its eight-year service history. The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to investigate. The disaster in Turkey yesterday killed at least 72 of 77 people aboard a Turkish Airlines flight when the British Aerospace RJ-100 crashed in a military area near the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. Local TV reported heavy fog in the area of the crash when the aircraft went down, and quoted Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, who said five survivors were evacuated to a local hospital for treatment.