Turkish passenger jet skids off runway and stops within metres of plunging into the Black Sea
Panic swept through the jet’s 162 passengers when the Boeing 737-800 touched down and careered off the tarmac
A passenger plane late Saturday skidded off the runway just metres away from the sea as it landed at an airport in northern Turkey, local media images showed.
The Pegasus Airlines flight had taken off smoothly from the capital Ankara and landed in Trabzon, but skidded off the runway in the northern airport. No one was injured or killed in the landing.
Dramatic images from CNN Turk broadcaster showed the plane dangerously hanging off a cliff several metres (feet) from the Black Sea, its wheels stuck in mud.
Other images from Dogan news agency showed smoke emanating from the trapped plane.
Pegasus Airlines confirmed in a statement Sunday there were no injuries among the 162 passengers onboard as well as two pilots and four cabin crew after they were evacuated.
One of the passengers, Fatma Gordu, panic erupted onboard during the landing.
"We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane's rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming," she told state-run news agency Anadolu.
Authorities are yet to establish what led to the budget airline plane — Pegasus Airlines' Boeing 737-800 — to veer off the runway shortly after landing, with unverified reports suggesting the incident may have been caused by a bird strike.
Data from flight tracking website RadarBox suggests the aircraft struggled to slow down on the runway, reporting the plane was travelling at a speed of 110 knots (204kph, 127mph) on the final third of the runway. There were also reports that rainy conditions reportedly made the runway surface slick. The airport was closed until 9am local time Sunday. Flights resumed at the Trabzon International Airport later.
One unnamed passenger told Turkish media they waited inside the plane “for at least 20 minutes” waiting for help to arrive, according to a report in the Telegraph.
“There was a smell of fuel inside so we all thought the plane [would] explode, but thankfully it did not happen,” they said.
Another passenger, Yüksel Gördü, told the publication it was “a miracle” that they survived the ordeal.
“The plane could have caught fire or fell into the sea. I thank god it didn’t. I feel like going crazy whenever I think about these moments,” he said.
Footage posted on social media showed at least one of the aircraft’s windows had been smashed and another clip appeared to show one of the plane’s engines in the water.
Pegasus Airlines said in a statement they were “sorry to report” that Flight PC 8622 “had a runway excursion incident during landing”.
“All 162 passengers, 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew have been disembarked safely from the aircraft. There has been no loss of life or injury to anyone on board,” the statement said. However, certain media reports claimed three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
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