Three dead after plane crashes and skids off runway at Istanbul airport
5 February 2020, 15:58 | Updated: 6 February 2020, 00:31
Three people have died and 157 injured after a plane skidded off the runway at an airport in Istanbul and split in three parts.
Turkish media showed footage of the plane almost split in two and passengers were evacuated through the cracks.
There were 177 passengers and crew members on board at the time of the crash.
The deaths have been confirmed by the Turkish health minister.
The Pegasus airlines plane arrived from the city of Izmir and landed at Sabiha Gokcen airport, private NTV television reported.
NTV television said the plane skidded off the runway and crashed into a road.
The fuselage appears to have broken into three pieces.
The ministry said the accident was the result of a "rough landing".
Dramatic pictures of the aftermath of the crash show emergency workers poring over the wreckage.
Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said some passengers had been injured.
He said emergency crews were still evacuating some passengers from the wreck but most of them evacuated on their own.
The airport has been closed down and flights were being diverted to Istanbul's main airport, the minister said.
Today's crash comes just a month after another Pegasus flight came off the runway at the same airport.
The Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 ground to a halt on grassland next to the runway, with all 164 on board escaping on the emergency slides.
And in January 2018, another one of their Boeing 737s skidded off the runway as it came to land in Trabzon airport following a flight from Ankara.
The aircraft then skidded partially down a cliff.
Miraculously, there were no injuries or deaths in that incident either.
Travel Editor for the Independent Simon Calder told LBC News that the jet was landing in bad conditions.
He said: "Thank goodness that here we have another survivable accident which just goes to show how much safety is engineered into the aviation business.
"It appeared to be landing in very difficult meteorological conditions with heavy rain."
Of the airline involved, he said: "Pegasus is a very good, high quality airline - the second biggest in Turkey.
"It is effectively the Turkish equivalent of easyJet."