This morning we here in Seattle learned that the recent crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 took the lives of members of our community, several employees at Boeing. I read the Seattle Times article this morning and decided to share some of the encouraging (yes encouraging) thoughts that have occurred to me since learning of this disaster. One positive aspect of this crash, aside from the obvious, the fact that there were many survivors, is that it occurred in a locale that will make it easier to learn what actually happened.
This crash occurred outside Amsterdam, in The Netherlands (AKA Holland). Almost ten years ago I left Seattle to live in The Netherlands where I studied Aviation Law at Leiden University and worked monitoring a treaty on International Law in the Hague. Within a train ride from the site of this crash there exists an unparalleled resource of aviation law knowledge and experience. The Air and Space Law program at Leiden University is taught by some of the world’s foremost experts in this field of law (for instance, one professor is a former Director of European Aeropolitical Affairs at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Geneva).
Additionally, the crash occurred within a train ride to The Hague. I had the honor to work in the Hague and it truly is a center of international law and politics. There are over 150 international legal organizations in The Hague, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Walking through The Hague, around every corner, is an embassy. The American Embassy in the Hague is coordinating information and assistance for American families involved in the crash. It is reassuring that such a sophisticated government, the Dutch government, is involved in the investigation of the cause of Flight 1951.
Finally, the Dutch people are incredibly warm and caring and they speak English beautifully. I would expect that they will do everything in their power to embrace the family members of this crash. Without a doubt, this crash is a tragedy; hopefully, the location of the crash will assist us all in learning its cause.