A Boeing 737-800 crash in Istanbul which saw the aircraft break into three pieces has resulted in the deaths of three people, officials have confirmed.
The Pegasus Airlines flight was carrying 177 passengers when it skidded off the runway at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport, after trying to land in challenging conditions.
Early reports suggested all aboard had survived the incident, and it is still unclear whether the three fatalities are passengers or crew – or even people on the ground.
Turkish investigators are likely to be examining the weather conditions at the time of the overrun, and whether the decision to land on runway 06 – which was experiencing gusting tailwinds, according to Sabiha Gokcen’s meteorological data – contributed to the overrun.
The aircraft, operating flight PC2193 from Izmir under the callsign ’Sunturk 87R’, was advised of a wind speed of 22kt, gusting to 34kt, when it was cleared to land, according to tower communications archived by LiveATC.
At least two other preceding flights, both operated by Turkish Airlines, on approach to the runway appear to have opted to execute a go-around.
Turkey’s civil aviation authority states that the aircraft landed at 18:19 and was carrying 177 passengers and six crew members. It says 139 injured occupants were transferred to 18 different hospitals.
Pegasus has confirmed three fatalities, citing official information, without elaborating on whether they are passengers or crew.
“We are deploying every resource to support those affected by this accident,” it states.
This accident is likely to draw attention to Pegasus’s operating record. The fatal Sabiha Gokcen accident is the second excursion suffered by the airline in a month at the airport, and comes just two years after another major excursion accident at Trabzon during which a 737-800 was left badly damaged and precariously perched on a cliff edge.