by Mark Molloy, The Telegraph, January 18, 2018
A passenger plane that skidded off a Turkish airport runway has been lifted away from its precarious position on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Black Sea.
Two enormous cranes were used to hoist the Pegasus Airlines plane which ran into trouble moments after landing at Trabzon Airport on Turkey’s northeast coastline on 13 January.
The 162 passengers on board the Boeing 737-800 miraculously escaped without any serious injuries after the out-of-control plane suddenly veered off an icy runway and hurtled down the side of the cliff.
It stopped just a few metres short of the sea below after the plane’s wheels became stuck in the mud on the cliff. Passengers were evacuated following an anxious 20-minute wait for emergency crews to arrive.
The pilot and co-pilot, who both passed breathalyser tests after an investigation into the incident was launched, reported a sudden ‘engine surge’ after landing.
“When we were going to make our usual manoeuvre towards the right from the seaside by reducing our speed, the right engine suddenly gained speed for a reason we do now know,” a pilot told Trabzon prosecutors, the Dogan news agency reports.
“Due to this speed, the plane got out of our control and suddenly swung to the left and got stuck into the mud in the cliff.”
Turkey’s civil aviation authority will now examine the plane’s black box to try and establish what caused it to veer so dramatically off course.
Terrified passenger Fatma Gördü told Turkish media the plane began suddenly shaking on the runway.
“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic. People shouting, screaming,” she said.
Pegasus Airlines said in a statement that Flight PC 8622 “had a runway excursion incident during landing”.
Another passenger, Yüksel Gördü, said it was “a miracle” that they survived the ordeal.