The Pegasus Airlines plane with flight number PC2193 was arriving from Turkey’s Aegean province of Izmir at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport when it skidded off the runway while landing, said Turkey’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan.
Three people died and 179 others were injured among the 177 passengers and six crew members, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
Television footage showed the nose of the plane almost completely separated from the rest of the fuselage, which burst into flames following the crash.
“According to the information we obtained, after the hard landing, the plane drifted,” said Turhan.
After skidding off the runway, the plane drifted around 50 meters, said Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya.
“Then it fell from a height of around 30 meters here, where there is a connection road from the TEM highway to the E-5 highway.”
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara launched an investigation into the incident. The airport has been temporarily closed to air traffic.
Turkish Airlines also announced that it has temporarily halted all flights to and from the airport.