2 pilots in Turkish aircraft disaster to be investigated for possible negligence

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Turkey will investigate two pilots for possible negligence after their plane skidded off an İstanbul runway, killing three passengers, state media reported Thursday, AFP reported.

A total of 174 passengers and six crew members were injured after the Boeing 737, operated by low-cost Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines, flew into İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport from the western city of Izmir late on Wednesday.

The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the pilots on suspicion of causing death and injury through negligence, the TRT broadcaster reported.

The pilots are among the injured currently undergoing treatment at a hospital and will give statements to the police once they are discharged, the channel added.

The plane landed in heavy wind and rain and slid 60 meters (200 feet) off the end of the runway before falling 30-40 meters down a bank, the Istanbul governor said.

Sabiha Gökçen was briefly closed after the incident, Pegasus CEO Mehmet Tevfik Nane told reporters.

Nane said 56 people had been discharged from hospitals and that the aircraft’s black box was being examined for clues as to the cause of the crash.

“Such accidents occur not because of one factor but many factors,” he said.

The airline’s planes are relatively new, with an average age of 5.3 years, and “their technical reliability is very high,” Nane added.

Pegasus, which has been flying for 20 years, has a fleet of 83 aircraft, including 47 Boeing and 36 Airbus planes, according to its website.

Two years ago, a Pegasus Boeing 737-800 slid down an embankment at Trabzon airport in northern Turkey and landed just meters from the water with its wheels stuck in mud.

Turkish Minute

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