The pictures are spectacular – and terrifying. A Pegasus Airlines jet narrowly avoided the Black Sea on Saturday after skidding off the runway at Turkey’s Trabzon Airport.
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft came to a halt on the side of a cliff, its nose just meters from the water’s edge below after leaving the runway shortly after touchdown. Observers say thick mud may have stopped the plane from sliding into the sea.
The accident occurred on the Turkish LCC’s flight 8622, which departed from the nation’s capital Ankara. The flight was carrying 162 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew. Pegasus issued a statement stating that the aircraft “had a runway excursion incident” during landing, but all passengers and crew onboard had disembarked the safely, with no reports of any loss of life of major injuries. That’s the amazing part.
While the cause of the accident is unclear, as Turkish authorities are still carrying out their investigation, it has been reported that at the time of the accident, weather conditions were poor with rain falling for two hours prior to the accident and visibility deteriorating from 4000 meters to 2800 meters.
According to Fatma Gordu, one of the passengers onboard, the accident occurred after the plane landed. “We landed on the runway and taxied a little. But then there was a huge noise, we started shaking. We got pushed to the side; the plane’s nose was facing down, and the back was facing up. The passengers panicked a lot,” said Gordu.
The aircraft involved, a Boeing 737-800 registration TC-CPF, was delivered to the airline in November 2012, making the aircraft just over five years old. The average age of the Pegasus fleet is just under six years old.