On Saturday, January 13, a Pegasus airplane skidded off the runway at Trabzon Airport in Turkey, nearly plummeting into the sea. The passenger jet had been carrying 168 people when it landed at the airport, somehow overshooting the runway and ending up down the side of a muddy cliff.
Photos of the Boeing 737-800 showed the plane with its nose facing the water, the aircraft in a nearly vertical position. The plane had been coming from Ankara, a regularly scheduled 90-minute flight that turned into a real-life nightmare.
“Panic spread through the Boeing 737-800 as it came to a halt with its nose pointing precariously down a cliff. Incredibly, flight PC8622’s wheels became stuck in icy mud, which may have prevented it from entering the sea,” reports the Daily Mail.
A full investigation is underway and the pilot and co-pilot have been interviewed by authorities and given breathalyzer tests. According to the report, the pilot told officials that the plane’s right engine “suddenly gained speed” during the landing. It is unclear how or why this may have happened.
Below are some photos of the plane after it came to a halt on the side of a cliff next to the airport’s runway.
Pieces of the aircraft had broken off the jet and were seen floating in the water below. If you look closely, you will be able to see one of the plane’s engines in the water.
Once the aircraft came to a complete stop, passengers were instructed to exit using the plane’s rear door. Those onboard were also told to leave all of their belongings behind.
“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic. People shouting, screaming,” a passenger named Fatma Gordu told state-run news agency Anadolu, according to Reuters. She said that passengers smelled fuel shortly after. “We thought there would be fire. People panicked – there were pregnant women and children,” she continued.
Other passengers have also spoken out about the sheer panic that occurred.
“It was a miracle,” said another passenger, Yuksel Gordu. “We could have burned, we could have exploded or we could have gone into the sea.”
Thankfully, no one was injured in this accident.
“All 162 passengers, 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew have been disembarked safely from the aircraft. There has been no loss of life or injury to anyone on-board,” Pegasus said in a statement posted on their website.
“They were all OK,” Trabzon governor Yucel Yavuz said of the passengers and crew members onboard the aircraft. “We’ve taken all necessary measures. We will reopen the airport to air traffic as soon as possible,” he told Anadolu.
The airport has since been reopened.
According to Newsweek, the plane was set to be towed off the cliff on Monday.
“Operations to remove the plane from the slope are also underway, Turkish news agency Dogan reported. Only once the plane is taken off the slope will passengers be able to recover the luggage they had to abandon during the evacuation,” the outlet reported.