Turkish plane breaks apart after skidding off runway; 3 dead
An aircraft crashed on the runway at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The plane reportedly skidded off the runway, caught fire and then broke into three parts as it landed at the airport amid rough weather. Three people have died and 179 others were injured in the incident, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Here are more details.
Plane carried 183 people; had flown in from Izmir
According to reports, the Boeing 737 aircraft, operated by Pegasus Airlines landed at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport at 6:19 pm local time (8:49 pm IST) on Wednesday. The plane had flown in from Izmir on Turkey's Aegean coast. The plane was carrying 183 people, including 6 crew members, 175 adult passengers, and two children, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said.
Plane 'fell 30-40 meters' after sliding off runway
Yerlikaya said that the plane "slid some 60 meters (200 feet)" after it skidded off the runway due to poor weather conditions. It then "fell about 30-40 meters (100-130 feet)" off the runway. Yerlikaya said that the accident "could have had more serious consequences."
Some passengers escaped themselves; others were rescued
Meanwhile, Turkey's Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said on CNN-Turk channel, "Some passengers evacuated the plane by themselves but others are stuck inside and our rescuers are working to free them." Videos of passengers climbing out of the broken aircraft and onto its wings also emerged online. The 179 injured were reportedly admitted to different hospitals. Meanwhile, firefighters managed to douse the flames.
Here is a clip from Wednesday's crash
Plane had 'strong landing' amid heavy winds, rain
Reportedly, Turhan also said that the Pegasus plane had had a "strong landing" The plane landed at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport amid strong winds and rain, which usually lead to the cancellation of flights. After the crash, the airport was closed and flights were redirected. The airport has since reopened and the Istanbul public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incident.
Accident bears resemblance to 2018 Trabzon Airport crash
Notably, a similar crash involving Pegasus Airlines occurred in January 2018 when a Boeing 737-800 landed at the Trabzon Airport. The plane ran off the runway as the aircraft failed to decelerate. It then slid down a cliff. It took four days for the plane to be lifted back on to the runway using cranes. Fortunately, all 162 passengers and six crew were rescued.