From The Editors

Passengers Escape Unscathed After Turkish Plane Skids Off Runway and Tips Over Cliff Edge

A major disaster was averted on Saturday when a commercial plane, coming in to land at the Trabzon airport in Turkey, skidded off the runway and tipped over the edge of a cliff and miraculously came to rest a just a few feet from the sea.

All 168 people on board the Pegasus Airlines’ Airbus 737-800, including 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew, escaped the accident unscathed.

In a Sunday press release, the airlines said that the flight which originated from the Turkish capital Ankara had what it called a “Runway Excursion Incident” while attempting to land but all passengers and crew “disembarked safely” with “no loss of life or injury to anyone on-board.”

“We’re sorry to report that the Boeing 737-800 type TC-CPF registered aircraft of Pegasus Airlines Flight Number PC 8622 Ankara-Trabzon flight scheduled at 18:25 UTC tonight, had a Runway Excursion Incident during landing at Trabzon Airport (13 January 2018). 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,” read the Pegasus Airways statement.

What could have ended up in a major disaster and loss of lives was miraculously averted as the plane’s undercarriage dug into the cliffside mud and prevented it from plunging into the freezing waters of the Black Sea, initial reports suggested.

“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming,” Fatma Gordu, one of the passengers on flight PC 8622 told Sky News.

Another passenger, Yuksel Gordu, thanked God for what he called a “miracle,” saying that the plane could well have “burned or exploded” or even crashed into the sea.

“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.”

Trabzon Governor Yucel Yavuz assured that an investigation was underway to determine why the aircraft veered off the runway.

“We’ve taken all necessary measures,” Yavuz told the Turkish media.

“We will re-open the airport to airport traffic as soon as possible.”

The airport, which was shut for hours after the mishap, reopened on Sunday.

The Saturday incident was the third near miss in Pegasus Airlines’ 28-year history. Here are the other two.

March 10, 2010

A nose gear malfunction forced a Pegasus Airlines Flight 361, Airbus 319, to make an emergency landing at the Frankfurt Airport in Germany on March 10, 2010. While the flight landed safely, both the front tires of the plane was blown to shreds. The runway had to be closed for three hours following the incident.

February 7, 2014

On February 7, 2014, a Ukrainian passenger, Artem Kozlov, onboard Pegasus Airlines Flight PC-751 threatened to blow up the Boeing 737 with a bomb he claimed to have on board if the flight was not diverted to Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics was going on at the time.

The man who jumped up from his seat 2F shouted that he had a bomb and tried to enter the cockpit but failed. He was made to believe his demand was being met and that the flight was heading towards Sochi, when, actually, the flight continued towards its intended destination, escorted by an F-16 fighter plane, and landed safely in Turkey.

The heavily inebriated man who surrendered on landing at the Istanbul Airport was detained by the police and no weapons or explosives were found on him or the aircraft.

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