Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-86J skidded off the end of a wet runway at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport after rough landing caused by bad weather on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, killing three people and leaving 179 injured as it snapped into three pieces.
"The plane could not hold on the runway due to poor weather conditions and skid for around 50 to 60 m (165 to 197 feet)," governor Ali Yerlikaya stated at a news conference, adding that the injured victims had been taken to 18 hospitals.
CCTV footage showed the plane appearing to had caught on fire as it scraped along the ground, falling into a ditch.
One passenger told NTV that he noticed the speed of the plane as it landed, saying, "With the speed, I think it was not able to stop. It all happened in two to three seconds."
According to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Eric Leister, rains and thunderstorms moved across the area from 17:20 to 19:00 LT (14:20 to 16:00 UTC). The plane landed at 18:19 LT (15:19 UTC), and a wind gust near 65 km/h (40 mph) was reported at the airport around that time.
Officials continued to investigate on Thursday, February 6, with the Turkish military being deployed to the scene to guard the wreckage.
Airport officials had warned pilots about the severe weather prior to the landing, according to NTV.
Meanwhile, the airline took to Twitter to share its statement regarding the tragedy. "Pegasus Airlines shares in the profound sorrow of all the people affected by this tragic accident," it said.
"Above all, we would like to express our profound sympathy and heartfelt condolences to those families and friends who have lost loved ones and extend our thoughts to them at this difficult time."
"Our injured passengers continue to be treated in hospital and we wish them all a swift recovery."
Featured image credit: JACDEC