THIS is the nailbiting moment a plane in the US was forced to make an emergency landing - after the wheel flew off midair.

Sparks flew from the back of the plane as it touched down on the runway at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, The Sun reports.

Passengers apparently ran to safety after the plane spun off the runway during the heart-stopping moment on Friday.

The heart-stopping moment when sparks flew out the back of the plane as it touched down.
The heart-stopping moment when sparks flew out the back of the plane as it touched down.

The small passenger plane had taken off from Belize when the pilot was notified shortly afterwards that the wheel had dropped off.

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But the pilot felt the plane was still safe to fly so continued on to Florida, according to an airport spokesman.

The plane then notified the control tower about a possible problem concerning a missing wheel.

The pilot carried out a fly-by manoeuvre after arriving in Sarasota and the control tower confirmed a wheel was missing.

As it was coming into the land, the plane began circling the airport to dump fuel.

Fire engines were on standby for the emergency landing. No one was injured but the plane's occupants were shaken.

Three men and one woman were on board the plane, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.