US investigators inspect site of fatal plane crash in Turkey’s Istanbul

The wreckage of Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 airplane that skidded off the runway upon landing at the Sabiha Gokcen airport, in Istanbul, on February 6, 2020. (AFP)

US aviation investigators have arrived at the site of a fatal plane crash in Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Saturday.

A team from aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the US civil aviation authority inspected the wreckage of the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 that skidded off a runway at Sabiha Gokcen airport on Wednesday evening, killing three people.

The aircraft, which split into three pieces in the accident, will later be dismantled and removed by crane, Anadolu said.

The crash happened as the 11-year-old aircraft landed in strong winds and heavy rain.

The US team is looking to see if there were any technical factors that could have contributed to the accident, Anadolu reported.

Investigators are examining many possible causes, including the plane’s speed and the weather at the time of the crash.

On Thursday, Pegasus Airlines CEO Mehmet T. Nane said the plane’s black boxes had been recovered and the data from them was being deciphered.

A report on the crash, in which 180 passengers and crew members were injured, is expected in a month’s time, Anadolu reported.

Prosecutors have taken statements from air traffic control staff, airport employees and the pilots of two other planes that aborted landings shortly before the Pegasus flight landed.

Pegasus has had several recent instances of overshooting runways.

Another Pegasus Airlines plane skidded off the runway at the same airport on January 7, causing the temporary closure of the airport. There were no injuries.

In January 2018, another Boeing 737 in the Pegasus fleet slid off a runway at Trabzon Airport in northeastern Turkey. The plane came to rest in the dirt above the Black Sea with its nose pointed toward the water. No one was injured.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05
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