Passengers escape as Turkish plane teeters on cliff

January 15, 2018
Pegasus crash cliff

Passengers described their escape as “a miracle” after a Turkish Boeing 737-800 veered off a  runway, slid down a cliff and ended at steep angle metres from the Black Sea.

The dramatic crash severely damaged the Pegasus Airlines  plane, with photographs and videos  showing an engine separated from the wing and in the sea.

“We tilted to the side,’’ passenger Fatma Gordu told state-run news agency Anadolu.

“The front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic, people shouting, screaming.”

Another passenger, Yuksel Gordu, told Anadolu it was a miracle the passengers escaped.

“We could have burned, exploded, flown into the sea,’’ he said.

The aircraft  was flying from Ankara to Trabzon on January 13 when it veered left off the runway and came to a stop on soft ground about 60m before the runway’s end, the Aviation Herald website reported.

The website said transponder data suggested the aircraft touched down normally at 143 knots ground speed.

A statement from the low-cost carrier said all 162 passengers and six crew were evacuated safely from flight PC-8622, although local emergency services reported three minor injuries.

“There has been no loss of life or injury to anyone on-board,’’  the airline said.

Pegasus Airlines flies to more than 50 destinations in Turkey and abroad and operates a fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. The damaged Boeing 737-800 was one of 44 operated by the airline, according to the airline’s website.

It was founded as a joint venture charter airline involving Aer Lingus in 1989 and started operations in 1990.

The Irish carrier sold its share to a Turkish company in the mid-1990s to make Pegasus a purely Turkish company.

It started scheduled   services as a low-cost carrier in 2005 after it was taken over taken over by ESAS Holdings and became publicly traded in 2013.

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