ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish Airlines jet crashed Thursday as the pilot tried to land in a snowstorm despite repeated warnings from the control tower to turn back. Fifty-four people were killed.
Most of the 76 passengers were military personnel flying from Ankara to the remote city of Van, about 50 miles west of Iran in the southeast, where the army is fighting Kurdish rebels.
The Boeing 737 crashed two miles from the airport as it made its third attempt to land. Two previous tries were aborted in harsh weather, said Faik Akin, a spokesman for the national carrier.
The Anatolia news agency said the pilot apparently tried to land after being warned off on the third pass.
"I will try once more," the pilot said moments before the crash, according to Anatolia.
"Do not land. I cannot even see you. I can only hear the plane's engine. Return to Ankara," the air traffic controller reportedly answered.