Istanbul: A plane carrying 177 people skidded off the runway at an Istanbul airport and split into three after landing in rough weather on Wednesday.
Officials said no-one had lost their lives in the accident, but dozens of people were injured.
Live images broadcast on Turkish television showed several people climbing through a large crack in the plane and escaping on one of the wings at the rear of the aircraft.
The Boeing 737 operated by Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines had flown into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from the Aegean port city of Izmir in very wet weather, NTV broadcaster reported.
Fifty-two people were injured and taken to hospital, Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya said on Twitter.
“Efforts to evacuate those affected continue,” he added.
Turkish television NTV showed images of the badly damaged plane and a fire inside, which was later put out by firefighters.
The plane had 171 passengers on board and six crew members, the governor said.
Turkish media said there were 12 children among the passengers.
– ‘Strong landing’ –
Turhan said there were no deaths, and that the majority of passengers were able to get off the plane themselves.
Some passengers were believed to be stuck inside the aircraft but local media reported that emergency workers are currently helping them.
After darkness fell, television footage showed dozens of rescue workers in high-visibility jackets surrounding the plane with flashlights.
Some sprayed water jets onto the severed body of the aircraft, while others could be seen climbing up onto the plane to comb through the cabin.
Turhan said the plane broke after a “strong landing,” according to NTV. Prior to the accident, there had been very strong winds and rain.
Several firefighters and health workers were sent to the scene, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Planes were being redirected to Istanbul’s main airport from Sabiha Gokcen, NTV said.
The Istanbul public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incident. The plane had landed at the airport at 1518 GMT, the private DHA news agency reported.
In January 2018, a Pegasus Boeing 737-800 slid down an embankment at Trabzon airport on the Black Sea, and landed just metres from the water with its wheels stuck in thick mud.
After four days, the plane was eventually lifted back onto the runway with engineers using cranes. All 162 passenger and six crew were safely evacuated.
Pegasus, which has been flying for 20 years, has a fleet of 83 aircraft, including 47 Boeings and 36 Airbus planes, according to its website.