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Plane lands on its belly in Romania

A Romanian plane with 51 people on board made an emergency landing on its belly in western Romania today, officials said. All the occupants escaped safely.

Carmen Stoica, spokeswoman for Timisoara International Airport, said the plane circled the airport for almost two hours after its landing gear became stuck. It landed on a bed of foam laid out by firefighters.

She said there were 47 passengers and four crew members abroad.

"The plane ... crash-landed on the foam carpet spread by firefighters on the airstrip. All passengers are fine," said Sindia Vlaia, spokeswoman for the Emergency Inspectorate. She said the plane had tried to use up its fuel to avoid a fire when it landed.
On the ground at least 10 ambulances and three fire engines were waiting for the stricken plane. The runway at Timisoara International Airport is about 3.5 kilometers long.

The plane belongs to Romanian company Carpatair and was flying from the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

The Romanian Transportation Ministry has sent a team to Timisoara to investigate the incident.


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