ISTANBUL: At least three people have died and 179 were injured when a plane skidded off the runway at Istanbul airport, splits into three and caught fire after landing in rough weather on Wednesday.
According to reports, there were 12 children onboard. And the plane was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, said Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya.
Governor Yerlikaya said the plane “slid some 60 metres” after skidding off the runway, and then “fell about 30-40 metres” down a bank.
Turkish television broadcasted live images of the plane split into three parts. Several people were climbing through a large crack in the severed aircraft and escaping onto one of the wings at the rear.
“At this stage, 157 injured people are in hospital and one of our fellow citizens has lost their life,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters.
“Some passengers evacuated the plane by themselves but others are stuck inside and our rescuers are working to free them,” Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said on CNN-Turk television.
After a “strong landing”, the plane broke at Sabiha Gokcen, one of two main international airports in Istanbul, Turhan said.
The Istanbul public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incident.