Fri, Aug 16, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Russian pilot uses cornfield to avert disaster


Russian firefighters spray foam on an Ural Airlines Airbus A321 plane following an emergency landing in a field near Moscow’s Zhukovsky International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

A Russian pilot yesterday averted disaster by safely landing an Airbus A321 jet with more than 230 passengers and crew on board in a cornfield near Moscow after it struck a flock of seagulls and lost power in both engines.

The Crimea-bound airplane was forced to land without landing gear deployed after seagulls damaged its engines shortly after takeoff, the civil aviation watchdog said in a statement.

“After takeoff, birds got caught in the engines, with the left engine stalling immediately,” copilot Georgy Murzin, 23, said in a video posted on a Ramenskiy page on “Then they got caught in the second engine and it became unstable and also stalled. There wasn’t enough thrust and we lost altitude. We landed in a field manually — the commander took control.”

Video reportedly from within the plane showed that the passengers remained quiet as it approached a vast cornfield, only for shouting to erupt as the jet touched down.

News Web site posted footage of people walking through a cornfield away from the plane, which sat in the midst of the plants.

The crew “has shown fantastic skills and self-control. The captain was a Yekaterinburg resident Damir Yusupov. He and his crew saved 223 lives. Heroes,” Sverdlovsk Governor Evgeny Kuyvashev wrote on Instagram.

Initial reports gave conflicting figures for the number of people aboard, but the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said it was carrying 226 passengers and seven crew.

The Russian Ministry of Health said that 23 people were hospitalized after the crash, including nine children, but the crew’s skillful landing prevented any serious injuries.

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