Turkey prosecutors summon pilots after plane skids and snaps into three pieces
Posted February 6, 2020 9:30 a.m. EST
CNN — Turkish prosecutors summoned two pilots on Thursday after a plane skidded off the runway at an Istanbul airport and broke into three parts, killing three people and injuring more than 100, state media reports.
Dramatic images on Wednesday night show the Pegasus Airlines' Boeing 737 snapped in two places at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport, as rescuers entered part of the fuselage and rushed people to local hospitals. Firefighters also responded after part of the jet burst into flames, CNN Turk reports.
Anadolu chief prosecutors have launched an investigation into the accident, looking into whether the pilots may have caused "death of more than one person and injuring many by negligence," state broadcaster TRT reported.
The pilots will be taken to a police station for testimony after receiving treatment in the hospital, TRT said.
Pegasus Airlines' CEO Mehmet Nane told reporters the data recorders, also known as black boxes, were in the hands of Turkish police.
The plane had flown from Turkley's Izmir with 183 people on board. There were 175 adult passengers, two young children and six crew members, officials say. Weather radar showed a line of showers and thunderstorms moving through the area at the time of the incident.
Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said two children and three foreigners were among those injured, although he did not give their nationalities. It was not immediately clear how many foreigners may have been on board. The airport has been temporarily closed to air traffic.
The plane skidded up to 60 meters (196 feet) after landing, before falling up to 40 meters down a ditch, Yerlikaya said.
The accident is the latest involving a Boeing jet at a time of crisis for the US planemaker, which has seen its 737 MAX jets grounded globally after being involved in two fatal crashes that together killed 346 people.
More than 100 people are still being treated in hospital, according to Pegasus chief Nane.
Officials on Wednesday said three people were in intensive care. Many were suffering from injuries to their heads and legs, said Kartal Lutfi Kirdar Training and Research Hospital chief surgeon Recep Demirhan.
He said that 14 of 22 passengers being treated at the hospital were suffering "middle range" injuries and eight were lightly injured.
According to Flightradar24.com the plane landed at 6:19 p.m. local time (10:19 a.m. ET).
Nane spoke to reporters Thursday, saying "it is impossible to bring back those who have lost their lives but we will do whatever we can to lessen the pain of those who are alive."
The airline said on Twitter that it was "deeply saddened" by the accident and that it was "deploying every resource" to support those affected.