Terrifying moment passenger jet carrying 179 passengers skids through mud after coming in to land on icy runway in Lithuania


This is the moment a passenger jet carrying 179 passengers pulled off a terrifying landing on a muddy runway after touching down on ice in Lithuania.

Startling video showed a massive Airbus A320 careering across the tarmac after making a daring landing at Vilnius airport after a two hour journey from the Italian city of Bergamo on Saturday.

The jet, owned by Lithuanian company Avion Express, tried desperately to steady itself as an explosion of mud and water buffeted the plane, forcing birds to scatter in filmlike drama.

Reacting quickly, the plane’s hero pilot was able to taxi the aircraft safely off the runway and towards a safe zone where all passengers and six crew could get off without reporting any injuries. 

The plane sustained damage to its lower panels, Italian media reported, and the incident forced the airport to stop all incoming and outgoing flights for about two and a half hours on Saturday before reopening to air traffic.

The plane careers across the runway during an attempted landing in Vilnius over the weekend

A huge explosion of mud cakes the plane in dirt after skidding over ice at Lithuania airport

A huge explosion of mud cakes the plane in dirt after skidding over ice at Lithuania airport

Incredible composure from the pilot saw the plane get back on course and ride out the drama

Incredible composure from the pilot saw the plane get back on course and ride out the drama

Photos of the aftermath showed the plane caked in mud from the front of the plane through to the tail against the backdrop of an icy forest landscape.

Drifting right, the left side of the plane absorbs much of the dirt, but the other side is shown covered in a thick layer of brown.

Cones were put out and emergency vehicles spotted around the runway after the plane had made its landing.

The incident, occurring around 2:20pm on Saurday, forced the closure of runway 19 until 5:40pm and briefly shut the airport, aviation news outlet FL360aero reported.

Incoming flights were diverted to Kaunas and Palanga airports instead, both in Lithuania.

Avion Express confirmed to MailOnline today that Flight NVD8242 ‘slid off the landing runway after touchdown’.

A spokesperson said an investigation by Avion Express and local authorities is ‘currently underway’ to work out the exact cause.

‘The most important thing is that all the 179 passengers and our 6 crew members are safe and have not suffered any injuries during the incident. 

‘During the incident the passengers were calm and followed the instructions of our crew members. We extend our heartfelt apologies and sincere support to everyone who was on board.’

Further updates regarding the situation will be made available on the company’s website and social media channels.

The incident caused quite a stir on social media, users turning out to comment on the shock footage.

X user beerbaba wrote: ‘One hell of a landing for the passengers.’

Alvis Harding Jr said: ‘I had no idea you could drift a 320.’ 

Linda Kavinsky commented: ‘What a great recovery.’

Yves Constant said: ‘Nice controlled sliding landing. Don’t know how passengers were reacting on board [sickness emojis]. And [the] aircraft needs a plane wash.’

In December, an easyJet flight from Gatwick also carrying 179 people came within 178ft of a plane waiting to take off at Bordeaux airport in France, shocking spectators.

The Airbus A320 was preparing to land at the Bordeaux-Mérignac airport on New Year’s Eve when an error by air traffic control saw it authorised to land as another aircraft was preparing to take off.

An investigative report into the incident cited several contributing factors, including a ‘significant decrease in staffing levels’ which left one controller running four stations at the same time ‘potentially leading to the oversight’.

The investigation concluded the ‘awareness and proactive action’ of the DR400 pilot, intercepting communications and warning ATC, prevented the mistake from becoming a potentially devastating accident. 

A shocking photo included in the BEA report showed the approach of the huge A320 airliner with the DR400 still on the runway.

As traffic became ‘very dense’, the controller then authorised the A320 to land, ‘forgetting the presence of the DR400 at the threshold’.

‘The DR400 pilot, having understood that the A320 was authorised to land while still at threshold 23, reported to the controller who immediately ordered the A320 to abort the approach’.

A bird flies away as the plane touches down on the icy runway in Vilnius on Saturday

A bird flies away as the plane touches down on the icy runway in Vilnius on Saturday

The plane finally got off the runway and all 179 passengers on board were able to disembark

The plane finally got off the runway and all 179 passengers on board were able to disembark

The controller reportedly looked ‘lost’ as the Airbus requested guidance.

The airliner, at a height of just 232ft and 3280ft (1,000 metres) from the threshold of the runway, soared over the DR400 at a height of 178ft, according to the report.

There were no reported injuries from either incident. 

MailOnline contacted Avion Express for comment. 





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