Pegasus Airlines called the incident a "runway excursion" in a statement on Wednesday

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 05, 2020 05:30 PM
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Credit: Emrah Gurel/AP/Shutterstock

A plane carrying 177 people skidded off a runway in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday, multiple outlets report.

At about 6:30 p.m. local time, a Pegasus Airlines flight attempted to make a smooth landing in at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul amid bad weather conditions, according to the Associated Press. The aircraft was arriving after making a trip from Turkey’s İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport.

Upon landing, the plane skidded off the runway, broke into three large pieces and crashed into a ditch, according to the New York Times. An estimated 139 people were injured BBC News reported, and about 52 people to the hospital.

Miraculously, no one was killed, according to a statement from the airline, which stated that the aircraft “experienced a runway excursion.” On Twitter, Pegasus also informed travelers that flights to and from the airport were suspended as the runway was temporarily shut down.

“We are deeply saddened … [but] we are very happy that we escaped a greater accident,” said Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya, according to the AP.

Plane wreckage, Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday
| Credit: STR/AFP via Getty
Credit: Istanbul Security Directorate / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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According to the airline’s website, Pegasus has been flying for 20 years, touting itself as “Turkey’s most established private airline” with “cutting-edge technology” and an “experienced cabin and maintenance crew [who] ensure maximum flight safety and security.”

One witness at the scene said he heard commotion while driving home from work, according to the AP.

“We were about 30 meters away … we tried to get to the scene to help, but there was some sort of a canal in between and it was impossible,” said the witness. “We thought, ‘God willing, no one has died.'”

Mehmet Cahit Turhan, transportation minister, told CNN Turk that the plane “couldn’t slow down.”

“According to information we obtained, a hard landing happened, and as it couldn’t slow down, it left the runway,” he told the outlet, according to the Times.