UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A Russian pilot was raised to the ranks of heroes on Thursday after successfully landing an Airbus carrying more than 230 people in a cornfield outside Moscow after being attacked by a seagull.
The Airbus “A321” plane belonging to the airline “Ural Airlines” carrying 226 passengers and crew of seven people, took off from the airport Zukovsky in Moscow, according to the agency Rosaviatsia air transport.
The birds attacked the plane shortly after take-off from Moscow, causing turbulence in the engine, and the crew decided to land immediately.
The agency said the plane landed in a corn field, one kilometer from the runway, as the speed of landing was falling and its engines were not working.
The Russian authorities evacuated passengers by air-blown stairs, some were taken to hospital and the rest went to the airport.
According to the Ministry of Health, 23 people, including nine children, were rushed to hospital, but there were no serious injuries among passengers.
She said one 69-year-old passenger suffered moderate injuries and needed to stay in hospital longer.
“Everything happened in a few seconds,” passenger Irina Osasheva told local television. “We took off and landed.”
Passenger Svetlana Babina said the birds could have been heard from inside the plane and that the engines had started producing “strange sounds”.
“We have to salute the pilot, in these circumstances he landed as thinly as possible,” she told RIA Novosti news agency.
“Everyone is alive. The pilot is a genius,” passenger Olga told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, noting that the passengers applauded the pilot soon after landing.
Pilot Yekaterinburg Damir Yusupov was widely praised for his speed of intuition.
“The crew of the Ural Airlines flight showed great skill and calm,” said Yevgeny Koivashev, the governor of the city where the pilot lives.
“The pilot and his team saved 233 souls. They are heroes.”
In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praised the “hero pilots” who landed the plane without crashing.
– Illegal dumps –
The Russian investigation committee said it had opened an investigation into the incident.
The committee posted on its Web page a video showing the plane parked in the corn field as rescue ladders were deployed. Investigators can also be seen inspecting the cockpit from within.
The plane was on its way to Simferopol, the largest city of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 and is a popular tourist destination for Russians during the summer.
The airport, which departed from the plane, is located 40 kilometers southeast of the center of Moscow, and opened in 2016 as the fourth international airport in the capital after it was a test center for flight during the Soviet era.
Several experts cited a growing problem of birds gathering in illegal dumps near Moscow airports.
“The problem with the birds is huge,” aviation security expert Alexander Romanov told RIA Novosti.
“Among other things, scattered landfills are in violation of all rules” applicable to aviation safety.
Residents near Zhukovsky said seagulls were constantly gathering near an illegal dump between the airport and the Moscow River.
Russia was once famous for its bad reputation in the field of aircraft accidents, but its safety record has improved a lot in recent years.
The last major accident occurred in Russia in May, when an Aeroflot plane caught fire when it made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, killing 41 people.
The plane was heading to the Russian city of Murmansk with 73 passengers and five crew members on board when the accident occurred and was forced to return to flames as it landed.
While the exact circumstances that caused the disaster were not yet officially known, its pilot Denis Evdokimov told Russian media that the Sukhoi Superjet 100 was forced to make an emergency landing after its equipment was disrupted by a lightning strike.
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