3 dead, 179 injured in Istanbul aircrash

PHOTO: Rescue workers after a plane skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport Wednesday - Reuters

Three people are dead and 179 injured, some seriously after a Pegasus Airlines plane heading into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport skidded off the end of a wet runway and broke into three pieces upon landing yesterday.

Turkey’s health minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters that three died in hospital, with 179 of the 183 aboard wounded.

Ali Yerlikaya, Istanbul’s governor, says the injured are being treated at 18 nearby hospitals.The plane was carrying 177 passengers and six crew from the western province of Izmir.

“The plane could not hold on the runway due to poor weather conditions and skidded for around 50 to 60 meters.”

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The Boeing 737-86J broke into three pieces after a drop of around 30 to 40 metres at the end of the runway. Footage shows the plane landing and continuing at high speed off the runway.

Flights were diverted to Istanbul Airport while the runway at Sabiha Gokcen was closed, but Sabiha Gokcen Airport announced the runway was reopening from 4am and its website showed flights had resumed this morning.

Pegasus said in a statement the plane had gone off the runway and passengers were evacuated, but gave no further details.

Turkey’s national broadcaster NTV says the plane attempted to land in heavy tailwinds despite other flights being postponed due to the wind. Footage showed the plane’s fuselage and a section near the tail had broken off. Earlier footage showed part of the exterior of the plane had caught fire, which state media said firefighters had put out.

Passengers were led out as the plane lay on a patch of grass by the runway. Dozens of emergency personnel escorted passengers off before carrying the injured away on stretchers.

Click HERE to view a video of the aftermath of Wednesday’s crash.

SOURCE: Reuters


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