‘Panic in the skies’ as THY plane makes emergency landing
PASSENGERS screamed in terror as a Turkish Airlines flight with some 200 passengers aboard developed engine failure seconds after take-off from Ercan airport.
Travellers heard “banging” and “screeching” from one of the engines as
İstanbul-bound flight TK 965 declared a “mayday” before circling above Geçitkale and Güzelyurt and then making an emergency landing in Antalya. Ahmet Kaptan, head of air traffic control at Ercan, said they had been alerted by the pilot immediately after the craft was airborne at 2.30am on Thursday. Controllers instructed him to circle at 8,000ft above Geçitkale airport, and the flight crew tested the faulty engine for about 25 minutes.
“They then advised us of a seconddegree emergency and asked for permission to fly to Antalya airport. We gave them clearance to fly there at 14,000ft.”
Mr Kaptan said there was no evidence of bird strike and commented: “Thank God this incident did not end differently.”
Britons Bernard and Christine Duggan, both 62, returning to Manchester after holidaying at their villa in Lapta, were among te passengers.
Mr Duggan told this newspaper: “The aircraft accelerated for take-off without any problems, but within seconds after leaving the ground loud banging noises were heard under the aircraft, followed by screeching noises and the aircraft was shuddering.
“There was some panic and some passengers were screaming. My wife Christine comforted a German lady sitting next to her after she panicked.
“Ten minutes later, we noticed that we were at low altitude and had not even crossed the Five Finger Mountains. We could see [Lefkoşa] below in the distance and noticed we were flying around in a circle.
“After 10 minutes the pilot said there was a ‘technical problem’ in a right-hand engine, and advised that we were to fly back to Ercan.
“We must have spent 40 or so minutes flying over . . . Cyprus and were then informed by the pilot that we were flying to Antalya.”
He said panic in the cabin had eased as the plane gained height and crossed the mountains, and the landing in Turkey had been greeted with applause.
Despite missing their Manchester flight, needing a £20 Turkish visa and an extra flight from Antalya to İstanbul, and a 17-hour journey, Mr Duggan commended the Turkish Airlines flight and cabin crew for “their excellent handling of a nightmare situation”.