IZMIR, Turkey — A West German chartered airliner carrying 16 people crashed in mountainous countryside near Turkey's western coast Saturday night. All aboard were feared killed, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The Boeing 737, en route from Stuttgart, West Germany, to Izmir, crashed about 8:30 p.m. near Izmir, 200 miles south of Istanbul, the agency said. The plane was operated by Condor, a subsidary of the West German airline Lufthansa.
In Frankfurt, West Germany, an airline spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity said the plane carried 11 Turkish passengers and five West German crew members.
The plane, which left Stuttgart at 2:24 p.m., went down while making its landing approach to the airport at Izmir on the Aegean coast. The spokeswoman had no information on casualties.
Local residents reported hearing a loud explosion before the crash, Anatolia said.
Seven Bodies Found
A rescue team managed to reach the isolated crash site about three hours later and found seven charred bodies, Anatolia said. They were unable to identify the bodies, and their work was hampered by darkness.
The plane was on its way to pick up 125 Turks and fly them to West Germany where they were to be employed as "guest workers," said a spokesman for the Stuttgart-based Avrupa company, which organized the flight.
The 11 Turks on board were returning to their homeland after working in West Germany, Avrupa spokesman Saim Buyukyilmaz said.
He said Avrupa, the Turkish word for Europe, organizes flights for Turks employed in the Stuttgart area.
The Condor spokeswoman said West German aviation officials were en route to Turkey to investigate the accident.
Turkey's Transportation Minister Ekrem Pakdemirli flew from Ankara to supervise the rescue efforts.
"It is a very sad incident but we have been partly consoled by the fact that the plane was not filled up by large numbers of passengers," Pakdemirli was quoted as saying.