Source AP ©

Scandinavian plan has made emergency landing in Lithuania

A Scandinavian Airlines plane with 48 passengers on board skidded off the runway during an emergency landing early Wednesday after the right landing gear failed to lower, airport authorities said. No one was injured.

The Q-400 turboprop eventually came to a stop in a patch of grass next to the airport's main landing strip after turning 90 degrees, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear whether the plane landed on its belly.

It was the second incident involving an SAS turboprop in three days and the company immediately announced it was grounding all its turboprops until further notice.

The plane had taken off from Copenhagen's international airport for a short flight to Palanga, a resort town in western Lithuania. The pilots noticed a failure in the landing gear during the flight and decided to land at Vilnius airport.

"They made this decision because the runways are much longer and wider at Vilnius international airport," said Kestutis Auryla, head of the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration.

The pilot completed the emergency landing after dumping fuel, though the plane still skidded off the runway.

"All passengers were successfully evacuated," Auryla said, adding that Lithuanian and Danish authorities were investigating the cause of the accident.

The incident blocked traffic at Vilnius airport for several hours.

A similar SAS turboprop carrying 73 people caught fire Sunday after making an emergency landing at Aalborg's airport in western Denmark. Five people were hurt during the evacuation there.

SAS grounded its fleet of Q400 turboprops and said aircraft maker Bombardier recommended all airlines do the same for Q400 planes that have made at least 10,000 flights.

Scandinavian Airlines, or SAS, is the joint flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

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