Turkish airplane skids off runway, almost plunges into Black Sea

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A Pegasus Airlines aircraft is pictured after it skidded off the runway at Trabzon airport by the Black Sea in Trabzon, Turkey, January 14, 2018. Ihlas News Agency (IHA) via REUTERS

A passenger airplane carrying 168 people overshot an airstrip in Turkey Saturday, skidding off the runway after it landed. It then proceeded to dangle precariously off a muddy cliff just feet from the Black Sea.

Pegasus Airlines confirmed in a statement that all of the people on board the Boeing 737-800, which consisted of 162 passengers, two pilots, and four cabin crew, were evacuated safely from the airplane without any injuries or loss of life.

The incident happened at the Trabzon Airport in the coastal city of Trabzon in northern Turkey. The runway of the airport is located along the coast of the Black Sea. The airplane came dangerously close to the Black Sea. If it had slid further down the cliff, it was very likely that the plane would have plunged into the sea.

After the incident, flights at the Trabzon airport were suspended until Sunday morning to allow authorities to investigate on the matter and to prevent the same mishap from happening with other planes.

According to the plane’s senior pilot, the airplane’s right engine suddenly started to speed up after the plane touched down on the runway. This caused the plane to be pushed toward the cliffs lining the sea.

Testimonies from the passengers confirmed that accounts of the senior pilot. Authorities also said that no signs of alcohol were found in the systems of the two pilots.

The investigation on the incident is still ongoing, and officials are still working on getting access to the plane’s black boxes.

Fatma Gordu, who was a passenger on the flight, described what happened after the plane landed on the runway. “We swerved all of a sudden,” she recounted. “The front of the plane crashed and the back was in the air. Everyone panicked.”

Another passenger, Yuksel Gordu, considers it a miracle that everyone survived the incident. “It’s a miracle we escaped,” he said. “We could have burned, exploded, flown into the sea. Thank God for this. I feel like I’m going crazy when I think about it.”