Plane crashes after landing in Istanbul, 52 injured

A view of the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-86J plane, that overran the runway during landing and crashed, at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, Turkey February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Pegasus Airlines plane flying into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from Izmir skidded off the runway after landing and crashed on Wednesday, injuring 52 people, Turkish officials and the airline said.

The plane split into three pieces after what Transport Minister Cahit Turhan called a rough landing, adding that there were no fatalities. He said flights waiting to land in Sabiha Gokcen were diverted to Istanbul Airport.

A spokeswoman for Pegasus confirmed the crash but did not provide further details. In a statement, Pegasus later said its plane had gone off the runaway after landing and that passengers were being evacuated.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the plane was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members from the western province of Izmir. He added emergency response teams had taken 52 people to hospital.

Broadcaster NTV later said that the plane’s two pilots were critically injured and receiving treatment at the hospital. It said the plane attempted to land in heavy tail-winds, adding that the two previous flights had held off landing due to wind.

Footage showed the plane’s fuselage, as well as a section of it near the tail, had broken off. Passengers were being led out as the plane lay on a patch of grass next to the runway. Dozens of emergency response personnel were taking passengers out of the plane and carrying them away on stretchers.

Earlier footage showed part of the exterior of the plane had caught on fire, which state media said was put out by several firefighters at the scene.

Turkish Airlines said it canceled all its flight in and out of Sabiha Gokcen on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul, Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Editing by Dominic Evans, Jonathan Spicer, William Maclean

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