Panic on board as plane skids off runway

Trabzon, Turkey, accident, runway, cliff, mud, Black Sea, water, fire, crash, plane, aircraft, 737, skid

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Low-cost flight almost ends in disaster in Turkey

Passengers on a plane operated by Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines panicked after it skidded to a halt halfway down a muddy slope beside a runway in Turkey.

The Boeing 737-800 skidded off the tarmac metres above the waters of the Black Sea at Trabzon Airport in the country’s north-east on Saturday night at the end of a flight from Istanbul.

In the immediate aftermath of the aircraft’s “runway excursion incident”, as Pegasus Airlines described it, passengers jostled to get off the plane fearing they would be engulfed in flames. Video of the incident shows fire crews later pumping water over the aircraft.

Aerial footage by the Turkish news agency İhlas shows the angle of the plane on the cliff. However, none of the 162 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew were injured.

Smell of fuel
“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up,” passenger Fatma Gordu told the state-run news agency Anadolu. “There was panic, people shouting, screaming.”

The passengers could smell fuel. “We thought there would be fire,” she said. “People panicked – there were pregnant women and children.”

Another passenger described the fact that no one was hurt as “a miracle”, adding, “We could have burned, we could have exploded or we could have gone into the sea.”

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

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