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Plane Skids Off Runway, Breaks Into Pieces

Pegasus Airlines flight was arriving at Istanbul airport; one dead, 157 hurt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2020 1:23 PM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2020 4:32 PM CST
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Rescue members and firefighters work after a plane skidded off the runway at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport, in Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.   (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
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(Newser) – A plane skidded off the runway Wednesday as it tried to land in Istanbul, crashing into a field and breaking into pieces. Passengers had to evacuate through cracks in the smashed plane and authorities said more than 100 people were sent to the hospital with injuries, the AP reports. CNN later reported 157 were hurt and at least one died. The low-cost Pegasus Airlines plane was arriving at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport from the western Turkish city of Izmir when it had what the Transportation Ministry described as a “rough landing.” The ministry said no one died in the incident. Video obtained by the AP showed the wreckage of the plane in a field adjacent to the end of the runway. The video shows heavy rain and strong winds at the time, with smoke coming from one of the engines as passengers climb out of the fuselage onto the wings of the plane and away from the crash site.

Dozens of rescue crew members swarmed around the flood-lit fuselage, including around the cockpit, which had flipped over. The plane was a Boeing 737 that was 11 years old, according to the flight tracking website Flightradar24. The office of Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said the plane was carrying 177 people, including two children, plus six crew members. NTV television said the injured included the plane’s two pilots, who it said were in serious condition. NTV broadcast a recording of the communications between the pilots and air traffic control in which the pilots are told that previous flights had reported strong tail winds. "The accident occurred after (the plane) could not decelerate and rammed into a field from the end of the runway," state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mehmet Cahit Turan as saying. On Jan. 7, a Pegasus plane with 164 people on board skidded off the runway in Istanbul at the same airport; no one was hurt.

(Read more Istanbul stories.)

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