A sudden surge of power in one engine of a commercial aircraft caused it to plunge off a runway and down a cliff close to the sea, pilots have told investigators.
The Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane landed normally at Trabzon airport in Turkey on Saturday before going off course and off the runway, metres from the Black Sea with its wheels stuck in mud.
The plane has since been secured with a cable to stop it sliding into the sea.
All 162 passengers were able to make a safe exit from the aircraft, which remains lodged in the muddy embankment.
Dogan news agency reported that the plane’s two pilots passed breathalyser tests with both making statements to prosecutors in the city.
One pilot reportedly told them: “When we were going to make our usual manoeuvre towards the right from the seaside by reducing our speed, the right engine suddenly gained speed for a reason we do not know.
“Due to this speed, the plane got out of our control and suddenly swung to the left and got stuck into the mud in the cliff.”
What may have caused the sudden surge of power in the right engine is not yet known but images from the scene showed one of the engines had fallen into the water.
Passengers were told to leave the aircraft by the back door without taking any luggage or personal belongings, the pilot said.
The plane’s black box will now be examined by Turkey’s civil aviation authority as officials work to move the aircraft from its current position later on Monday.
The airport is now operating as normal after the incident forced it to close on Saturday.