ISTANBUL — A passenger plane broke apart after skidding off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on Wednesday evening, killing one person an causing dozens of injuries, Turkey’s transport minister said.
The plane was operated by Pegasus Airlines, a low-budget carrier, and had landed in Istanbul after traveling from Izmir in western Turkey, the airline said. It carried 171 passengers and six crew members, according to Turkish media reports, and landed in difficult conditions, with strong winds and heavy rain lashing Istanbul on Wednesday evening.
Speaking to reporters in the eastern province of Van, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said one person had died in a hospital after the crash but that none of the other injured were in critical condition, according to a Reuters report.
Television footage showed the plane separated into three pieces, with the nose almost completely detached from the rest of the fuselage and flipped over. Early footage of the crash showed what appeared to be a fire near the rear of the plane. Istanbul’s governor said 120 injured passengers were taken to hospitals, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
Pegasus Airlines said in a statement the airplane “experienced a runway excursion” after landing at the airport.
“Some of the injured left the plane with their own means and for others, our emergency teams are trying to get them out of the plane,” Turkey’s transport minister, Mehmet Cahit Turhan, told Anadolu.
Videos posted on social media showed injured passengers being transported in an airport bus from the airport.
It was the second incident involving Pegasus at the airport in less than a month. A Pegasus Airlines Boing 737-800 skidded off the runway at Sabiha Gokcen on Jan. 7, shortly after arriving from the United Arab Emirates in windy conditions.