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3 dead, 179 hurt after plane skids off runway in Istanbul, breaks into pieces

Posted at 11:31 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 18:06:47-05

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Three people are dead and at least 179 have been taken to hospitals after a Turkish airliner skidded off a runway, crashed into a ditch and broke apart while landing in Istanbul.

Passengers scrambled through cracks in the fuselage to escape the wreckage of the plane operated by low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines.

Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said the Boeing 737 with 183 passengers and crew members on board failed to "hold onto the runway" in bad weather and skidded into the ditch from a height of about 98 feet.

Turkish TV channel NTV broadcast a recording of air traffic control telling the pilots that previous flights had reported strong tail winds.