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Black box in Pegasus Airlines crash in İstanbul points to poor runway condition

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An examination of the black box of a Pegasus Airlines plane has indicated that the poor condition of the runway rather than pilot error caused it to crash in İstanbul on Feb. 5, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.

The black box was examined at the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BfU).

The plane landed at the 705th meter of the 3,000-meter runway, which was a reasonable distance, according to the report. Earlier reports had claimed that the landing was delayed and that the plane touched down in the middle of the runway.

However, the runway was in a state that did not allow for efficient braking, which resulted in the plane sliding off it, according to the report.

Turkish Transportation Minister Cahit Turhan — two days before the crash – said the runway was “exhausted” and undergoing maintenance every night when flights were no longer landing.

The accident killed three passengers and injured 180 occupants on board after the 11-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft skidded off the runway at İstanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport, ultimately sliding down an embankment and breaking into pieces.

A thunderstorm was passing through İstanbul at the time the flight arrived in the vicinity of the airport, with winds gusting to 30 knots.

In the light of the black box revelations, Turkey’s own Accident Investigation and Examination Board (KAİK) is poised to investigate the accident with a broader perspective, the report said.

Whereas earlier reports had put the pilots in the spotlight, the plane’s inability to stop despite landing at an acceptable range has led the board to focus on other risk factors.

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