Moscow: At least 55 people, including 17 children, were injured after a Russian passenger jet struck a flock of birds and then crash-landed in a cornfield outside a Moscow airport on Thursday, officials said.
The Simferopol-bound Ural Airlines U6178 flight, with 226 passengers and seven crew members on board, was forced to make a hard landing soon after taking off from the Moscow region’s Zhukovsky Airport after seagulls were sucked into both of its engines, Sputnik news agency reported.
The plane was significantly damaged and would not perform flights in the near future, Ural Airlines said in a statement. An official investigation is under way.
About one tonne of fuel leaked from the passenger jet, emergency services told TASS news agency.
“The plane had 16 tonnes of fuel in its tanks. It had spent a tiny 500 litres. After the emergency landing a leak occurred. It has been eliminated by now. Up to one tonne of fuel may have leaked,” the agency reported citing a source.
State media dubbed the landing the “miracle over Ramensk”.
Flight data recorders of the Airbus A321 plane are intact and will be handed over to experts from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), an official spokesman for the Federal Air Transport Agency said.
“Black boxes of the A321 plane have not been damaged in the emergency landing near Moscow and will be sent to the IAC,” the spokesman said.
An unnamed passenger told state TV the plane started to shake violently after take-off.
“Five seconds later, the lights on the right side of the plane started flashing and there was a smell of burning. Then we landed and everyone ran away,” he said.