A passenger plane skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on Feb. 5, killing at least three people and injuring 155 others, according to the officials. Two of the injured is said to be in critical condition.
The Pegasus Airlines plane was arriving from Turkey‘s Aegean province of Izmir at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport when it veered off the runway during landing for some 50-60 meters before crashing into a ditch from a height of approximately 30 meters.
A total of 183 people, including 175 passengers, two babies and six crew members, were in the plane. All 155 injured are hospitalized with at least two of them in critical condition, the officials said.
Television footage showed the Boeing 737-800‘s fuselage broke in three and caught fire. Firefighters and ambulances were dispatched to the scene and the passengers were led out as the plane lay on a patch of grass next to the runway.
“According to the information we obtained, the plane skidded off the runway and drifted to the land as a result of the hard landing,” said Transportation Minister Cahit Turhan. “Bad weather” is blamed for the accident.
Prosecutors in capital Ankara launched an investigation into the incident. There were reports about some serious delays in the dispatching of the emergency teams. Some also criticized the unorganized and unprepared fashion of the operations. A few of the seriously injured are captured on video complaining about waiting almost an hour for the ambulances and first aid teams to come to their aid.
The airport was shut down after the accident, which occurred at around 6:30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) and flights were being diverted to Istanbul’s main airport. Turkish Airlines also announced they have temporarily halted all flights to and from the airport.
In January 2018, another Boeing 737-800 in the Pegasus fleet slid off a runway at northeastern Turkey’s Trabzon Airport and down a dirt embankment. None of the 168 passengers and crew members were injured.