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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Landing Gear Fails on 2nd SAS Aircraft

ReutersAn SAS Bombardier Q400 turboprop lying beside the runway Wednesday in Vilnius after its landing gear failed.
VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A turboprop plane carrying 52 people skidded off the runway and smashed one wing into the ground after its right-side landing gear failed to lower during an emergency landing early Wednesday in Lithuania.

No one was injured in the accident, which came just three days after the same type of Scandinavian Airlines aircraft crash-landed because of a similar problem in Denmark, leaving five people with minor injuries.

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier recommended that all Q400 turboprop planes with more than 10,000 flights be grounded for inspections. The company said the recommendation affected about 60 planes.

In the latest incident, the pilots attempted to land the plane at Vilnius airport on its front and left landing gear when the right set of wheels failed to lower, authorities said.

The crew made all passengers sit on the left side of the plane for fear that the right propeller might break into pieces and puncture the cabin, said Kestutis Auryla, head of the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration.

Though the right propeller was switched off 10 seconds before touchdown, the right wing still hit the ground, causing a shower of sparks but no fire, he said.

The Q400 turboprop eventually came to a stop in a patch of grass next to the airport's main landing strip after turning 90 degrees. All 48 passengers and four crew were evacuated safely, he said.

"The pilots observed all procedures required for an emergency landing," Auryla said.

The extent of damage to the plane was not clear.

A similar Scandinavian Airlines, or SAS, turboprop carrying 73 people caught fire Sunday after its right landing gear collapsed during an emergency landing at Aalborg's airport, in western Denmark. Five people were hurt during the evacuation there.

At the time, SAS opted to keep other turboprops in service because it said the failure had never occurred before.

After the second incident, however, the company said it had grounded the 27 Q400 turboprops at SAS and its Norwegian subsidiary Wideroe.

The plane in Vilnius had taken off from Copenhagen's international airport for a short flight across the Baltic Sea 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 because the runway there is longer and wider.

The incident blocked traffic at the Vilnius airport for several hours.