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KALININGRAD, January 4. /TASS/. Khrabrovo airport in the Russian westernmost Kaliningrad region will be opened immediately after the A321 jet with a broken nose landing gear is withdrawn from the runway and delayed flights will be operated throughout the night, Anton Alikhanov, the interim regional governor, told reporters on Wednesday.
"As soon as we take away the plane, the flights will be resumed and throughout the night they (the airport) will be trying to catch up in order to get back to the routine schedule tomorrow," Alikhanov said, adding the Baltic Fleet command had agreed to provide heavy vehicles for towing the airliner from the tarmac and more attempts would follow soon.
Since the incident happened late on Tuesday, three attempts had been made to tow it off the runway but due to the fact that the jet’s landing gears penetrated deep into the soil, all of the attempts had yielded no results, the interim governor said.
Kaliningrad’s airport is equipped with the vehicles needed for these situations but weather conditions and humid soil which the airliner "had sunk into" had aggravated the situation, he said.
Alikhanov’s press secretary, Valeriya Rodina, told TASS that military vehicles had arrived at the scene to tow the plane from the runway.
Aeroflot’s Airbus A-320 en route from Moscow overshot the runway by five meters after landing at Khrabrovo airport in a snowstorm on Tuesday night. The airport has been closed after the incident. The plane carried 167 passengers and five crew members. No one was seriously injured as a result of the incident.
A source at Khrabrovo told TASS earlier that the airport had no special equipment to remove the plane from the runway.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal probe into the incident.