Plane crashes after skidding off runway in Istanbul
No fatalities as Pegasus Airlines aircraft splits into three pieces at Sabiha Gokcen airport
A Pegasus Boeing 737 plane pictured after it skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport. Photograph: Muhammed Demir/AFP via Getty
A Pegasus Airlines plane flying into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from Izmir skidded off the runway after landing and crashed on Wednesday, injuring 52 people, Turkish officials and the airline said.
The plane split into three pieces after what Turkish transport minister Cahit Turhan called a rough landing, adding that there were no fatalities. He said flights waiting to land in Sabiha Gokcen were diverted to Istanbul Airport.
A spokeswoman for Pegasus confirmed the crash but did not provide further details. In a statement, Pegasus later said its plane had gone off the runaway after landing and that passengers were being evacuated.
Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya said the plane was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members from the western province of Izmir. He added emergency response teams had taken 52 people to hospital.
Broadcaster NTV later said that the plane’s two pilots were critically injured and receiving treatment at the hospital. It said the plane attempted to land in heavy tail-winds, adding that the two previous flights had held off landing due to wind.
Footage showed the plane’s fuselage, as well as a section of it near the tail, had broken off. Passengers were being led out as the plane lay on a patch of grass next to the runway. Dozens of emergency response personnel were taking passengers out of the plane and carrying them away on stretchers.
Earlier footage showed part of the exterior of the plane had caught on fire, which state media said was put out by several firefighters at the scene.
Turkish Airlines said it cancelled all its flights in and out of Sabiha Gokcen on Wednesday. – Reuters