Last Updated 12:00UTC 06/02/2020
A Boeing 737-800 operated by Pegasus Airlines has skidded off the runway and snapped into three pieces at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport.
According to Turkey’s transport minister, there have been no fatalities initially recorded but Turkey’s health minister has now confirmed that at least one person has died. The airport has been temporarily closed while emergency services respond to the incident which is thought to have been caused by a rough landing. Wet weather and a strong tailwind are being blamed for the excursion. Reports are emerging that the plane failed to decelerate upon landing.
What are the details?
The flight in question was PC2193 from Izmir to Istanbul. The flight is almost always operated by an Airbus A320 or an A320neo, however, for some reason the aircraft was a Boeing 737 today. This Boeing 737, TC-IZK, departed from Izmir at 17:23 local time. It had been due to depart at 16:40. It then touched down in Istanbul at 18:19, just half an hour later than the intended time of 17:45.
Having touched down, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya confirmed that the plane “couldn’t hold on the runway due to poor weather conditions and skidded for around 50-60 metres.” It then slid down a bank at the end of the runway and fell another 30-40 meters before coming to rest in three pieces. While only one fatality has been confirmed, one would expect that there will be serious injuries from the front of the cabin given the damage sustained. It appears as though the very front section came to rest upside down.
177 people onboard
The aircraft is thought to have been carrying 171 passengers and 6 crew at the time of the incident. Authorities have said that while most of the passengers were Turkish, approximately 20 are foreign nationals.
The two pilots, one Turkish national and another South Korean national, are believed to be among the most seriously injured. Neither has spoken to authorities as yet. Istanbul’s public prosecutor has launched an inquiry.
Videos on social media show passengers escaping the wreck through gaps in the fuselage. Emergency services were initially called to put out fires in the fuselage which have now been extinguished.
A video of injured passengers has also appeared online. Please be aware some may find the video below distressing.
Injured people after Pegasus plane skids off run away at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport. No fatality according to Transport Ministry pic.twitter.com/v43Vc9zsY6
— Ahmet Hamdi Sisman (@trtbreaking) February 5, 2020
Initial reports on social media suggested the number of injured was just 52 but this has now risen to approximately 157 injured. Given the damage sustained by the aircraft, this figure could still rise. In its latest statement regarding the incident, Pegasus confirmed that there have been three confirmed fatalities as a result of the incident:
The aircraft involved in the incident is registered as TC-IZK, it is an 11-year-old Boeing 737 according to Planespotters.net. The aircraft was originally delivered to Air Berlin 11 years ago in February 2009. On the 19th of April 2016, it was returned to the lessor SMBC Aviation Capital. Then, in May that year, the aircraft was leased out to Pegasus where it has remained since. In December 2017 SMBC sold the aircraft to Aircastle.
Second runway excursion this year
This is the second Pegasus Boeing 737 runway excursion which has happened this year. Just under a month ago on the 7th of January, another Boeing 737 overran the runway and got stuck in the mud. As the aircraft was intact, people evacuated the aircraft via the emergency slides in that instance.
In January 2018, another pegasus Boeing 737 exited the runway in an uncontrolled manner. In this incident (Flight 8622), the aircraft slid down a steep bank before coming to rest just before the water. However, the fuselage remained largely intact.
Simple Flying has contacted a representative of Pegasus Airlines for comment on this story. We will continue to update it as more information becomes available.
Did you witness the crash in Istanbul? What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.