VILNIUS, LITHUANIA — Malfunctioning Brussels Airlines plane blocks runway atVilnius International, diverts flights.

On Wednesday, 21 June, an unexpected incident brought operations at Vilnius Airport, Lithuania, to an abrupt halt. At around 16:20 local time, an Airbus A320 from Brussels Airlines (registration OO-SNI) slated to depart for flight SN2372 to Brussels, Belgium, lost its left inner main gear while preparing for take-off reports. The startling event left the aircraft stranded on the taxiway.

This incident prompted a fleet of aircraft to reroute their paths towards alternative airports, including those in Kaunas, Riga, and Helsinki. Upon hearing the distressing news, a LOT Polish Airlines flight made a swift U-turn back to Warsaw.

A passenger aboard the troubled Airbus recounted a harrowing experience to local media, stating that the wheel seemed to detach spontaneously. They described hearing a loud bang, following which fragments of the tire lay scattered about. In the initial aftermath, passengers were directed to remain stationary until ground crew arrived at the scene to ensure a safe evacuation.

The stranded passengers were promptly evacuated and were awaited by ground staff. Their journey to Belgium is set to resume on a replacement aircraft, which is projected to take off around midnight.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive technical evaluation of the scenario is being carried out, and plans are afoot to clear the aircraft from the taxiway. The airport spokesperson confirmed via social media that Vilnius Airport’s runway would remain closed until 21:00 local time.

In the interim, passengers have been advised to stay updated by keeping a close eye on the information displays in the airport and checking the official Vilnius Airport website.