Authorities at Malta's only airport say a fire in an aquarium pump room forced the facility to close for two hours while half a dozen incoming flights were diverted to Sicily.
The fire broke out at roughly 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday and forced the evacuation of hundreds of passengers after smoke began filling the area, The Times of Malta reports. No one was injured in the blaze.
All incoming flights were diverted to Sicily, Italy, while departing flights were delayed until after the fire was controlled. Passengers who had just landed were left “stranded” on their aircrafts out on the tarmac, the Times added. Others had even deplaned before they were told they wouldn’t be allowed inside the arrivals area, according to Twitter.
"Stuck on the apron at Malta airport electrical fire in the terminal... they want us back in the plane... yeah right...." tweeted one passenger.
In total, 16 flights were affected by the closure, including 10 departing flights and six incoming, before the airport reopened.
The fire was eventually extinguished by 3 p.m. Passengers were readmitted shortly afterward, and Malta International Airport announced that it had resumed operations just before 4.p.m local time.
A message posted to MIA’s official website further confirmed that the blaze began in the aquarium pump room.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.