THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (ZEYNEP BILGINSOY)
Istanbul (AP) — A commercial airplane that skidded off a runway after landing in northern Turkey dangled precariously Sunday off a muddy cliff with its nose only a few feet from the Black Sea.
Some of the 168 people on board the Boeing 737-800 described it as a “miracle” that everyone was evacuated safely from the plane, which went off a runway at Trabzon Airport.
Images show the aircraft on its belly and perched at an acute angle just above the water. If it had slid any further along the slope, the plane would have likely plunged into the sea in the Turkish province of Trabzon.
Pegasus Airlines said no one was injured during the incident late Saturday, despite the panic among the 162 passengers on board Flight PC8622. The six-member crew, including two pilots, was also evacuated. Flights were suspended at Trabzon Airport for several hours before resuming again Sunday.
Passenger Yuksel Gordu told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency that words weren’t enough to describe the fear on the aircraft.
“It’s a miracle we escaped. We could have burned, exploded, flown into the sea,” Gordu said. “Thank God for this. I feel like I’m going crazy when I think about it.”
Another passenger, Fatma Gordu, told private Dogan news agency that there was a loud sound after landing.
“We swerved all of a sudden,” she said. “The front of the plane crashed and the back was in the air. Everyone panicked.”
Trabzon Gov. Yucel Yavuz said investigators were trying to determine why the plane had left the runway. The prosecutor’s office launched an investigation.
The flight originated in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Airport officials would not discuss the status of plane Sunday and whether it had been towed off the slope.