Passenger plane veers off runway and nearly falls into sea

Trabzon airport
Trabzon Airport, Turkey. Photo by Ercan Karakas via Wikimedia commons

Images have emerged showing the moment a passenger plane in Turkey managed to veer off its runway and tip over the side of a cliff. The plane slid down the cliff only stopping mere metres from the Black Sea.

The aircraft from Pegasus Airlines landed on Saturday night at Trabzon airport on the coast of Turkey. The airport runway rests on the top of a cliff that descends into the Black Sea.

Authorities from Turkey have not yet revealed what they believe caused the incident as the plane landed. In a quick address the cheap fares airline told reporters that the event was counted as a “incursion incident” on the runway.

Luckily, the 162 passengers and 6 crew members all were evacuated from the plane safely. The flight originated from the Turkish capital of Ankara.

As the plane landed on the runway it suddenly slid to the side on the left of the runway which runs adjacent to the coastline.

Pictures from onlookers show the plane, a Boeing 737-800, caught facing at a downwards angle on the cliff, facing the sea. The plane stopped just metres from the sea and another movement would have seen it become submerged.

Other pictures showed smoke leaving the aircraft, leading to fears that jet fuel might be ignited.

The Governor of Trabzon, Yucel Yavuz, stated that authorities were still investigating the cause of the incident. News of the accident shut down the airport until the following morning.

A passenger on the plane told the media that they could hear a loud noise when the plane touched the runway and that the plane quickly began shaking. They said that the plan suddenly moved towards the coastline and that passengers began to panic as the nose of the aircraft pointed down.

Passengers were forced to spend 20 minutes waiting in the precarious situation before being able to leave the aircraft from the rear exit. Passengers were fearful the plane would catch fire or descend into the sea.

Many other passengers thanked God for their safety and said they were shaken up by how close the accident came to being far worse than it was. Both passengers and officials are curious to see the results of the investigation to see what actually caused incident.