Michel Bezuijen, mayor of the Haarlemmermeer municipality, where the airport is located, said: "Of the 50 people injured, 25 were seriously injured."

Huseyin Sumer, a survivor, told Turkish NTV television that he crawled to safety out of a crack in the fuselage.

Sumer said: "We were about to land, we could not understand what was happening, some passengers screamed in panic but it happened so fast."

He said the crash was over in five to 10 seconds.

Authorities said they had found the flight data recorders of the plane and that they would be sent to Paris for analysis.

Fred Sanders of the Dutch Safety Board said: "The recording equipment has been found.''

Two pilots and an apprentice pilot were believed to be among the dead.

Pilot praised

Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ankara, the Turkish capital, said there was speculation that the crash was the result of a "misjudged approach", although she stressed it was impossible to establish what caused the accident before examining the in-flight recorders. 

"Modern aeroplanes are just much more survivable than [before]"

David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight International magazine

David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight International magazine, said he was not surprised that the number of casualties appeared to be low because there was no fire.

"Modern aeroplanes are just much more survivable than [before]... the question with this one is, this is an extremely modern aeroplane why did it crash at all?" he said.

Chris Yates, an aviation expert with Jane's Defence Weekly magazine, said that because the plane was so close to landing, most passengers would have been wearing seat belts, which may have helped to save lives.

He said it was possible that the plane could have been struck by birds; as was the case in the New York Hudson river crash in January.

"Bird strike is always a potential problem... as we saw with the Hudson crash, bird strike can happen at any point," Yates said. 

"When you get birds in the two engines you lose power and all sorts of horrible things can happen."

Canada geese collided with both engines of the US Airways plane that crash landed on New York's Hudson river after losing power. All passengers survived.

McNaught said the pilot, who trained with the Turkish airforce, had been praised for his handling of the crash by the country's transport minister.