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Turkey Starts Lifting Plane Dangling Off Cliff

Turkey Starts Lifting Plane Dangling Off Cliff

Thursday, 18 January, 2018 - 13:00
The Boeing 737-800 of Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines is seen in Trabzon, Turkey, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. AP photo

Turkish engineers on Thursday began a complex operation to lift with two cranes a Pegasus Airlines passenger plane which skidded off the runway at Trabzon Airport, northern Turkey, to a precarious position just meters from the sea.

The Boeing 737-800 plane had landed normally at the airport late on Saturday on a flight from Ankara but then went off the runway just meters from the waters of the Black Sea with its wheels stuck in mud.

Since then, it has remained on the steep slope, its nose pointing down and managing to defy gravity by being stuck in thick mud.

The Turkish aviation authorities closed Trabzon airport after two cranes were sent from Ankara and Samsun to carry out the operation, the Dogan news agency said.

Engineers began the operation by tying cables around the wing area of the plane in cradle fashion and also around the tail area. Both cranes will then work to lift the plane onto the runway. 

Once it is back on the runway, it will be emptied of remaining fuel, taken to a hanger, where the baggage and personal possessions of the passengers will finally be removed.

All 162 passengers and six crew were safely evacuated and no one was injured.

The pilot told prosecutors investigating the incident that the engine had a sudden increase in speed while taxiing on the runway.

The cause of the technical issue has yet to be made clear although images showed one of the engines had broken off and fallen into the sea.

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