Istanbul Airport: the plane slips off the runway in Istanbul, is divided in two after landing World News
Authorities said no one had lost their lives in the spectacular accident, but dozens of people were injured.
Live images broadcast on Turkish television showed several people climbing through a large crack in the cut plane and escaping to one of the wings at the back of the plane.
The Boeing 737 operated by the low-cost Turkish airline Pegasus Airlines had flown to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from the port city of the Aegean of Izmir, the NTV television network reported.
The plane was apparently hit by strong winds and heavy rains hitting the largest city in Turkey.
Fifty-two people were injured and were taken to hospital, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement on Twitter, but there were no deaths.
“Efforts to evacuate those affected continue.”
Turkish media said the two pilots, a Turkish citizen and a South Korean, were seriously injured.
The NTV private television station showed images of the badly damaged plane and the flames inside, which were then extinguished by firefighters.
The plane had 171 passengers on board and six crew members, the governor said.
Turkish media said there were 12 children among the passengers.
“Some passengers evacuated the plane by themselves, but others are trapped inside and our rescuers are working to free them,” Turhan said on CNN-Turk television.
After darkness fell, television images showed dozens of rescuers in high visibility jackets that surrounded the plane with flashlights.
Some sprayed water jets on the cut body of the aircraft, while others could be seen getting on the plane to cross the cabin.
According to NTV, Turhan said the plane broke down after a “strong landing” at Sabiha Gokcen, one of the two main international airports in Istanbul.
Before the accident, there had been very strong winds and rain in the area.
The flights were being redirected to Istanbul’s main airport from Sabiha Gokcen, which is located on the Asian side of the commercial center of Turkey, NTV said.
The public prosecutor of Istanbul has initiated an investigation into the incident.
The plane had landed at the airport at 1518 GMT, the private DHA news agency reported.
In January 2018, a Pegasus Boeing 737-800 slid down an embankment at Trabzon Airport in the Black Sea, and landed a few meters from the water with its wheels trapped in the thick mud.
After four days, the plane was finally raised to the runway with engineers using cranes. The 162 passengers and six crew members were evacuated safely.
Pegasus, which has been flying for 20 years, has a fleet of 83 aircraft, including 47 Boeings and 36 Airbus planes, according to its website.