The pilots of a passenger jet carrying 233 people have been called heroes after making an emergency landing in a cornfield following a bird strike during take-off.
Russian TV network RT reported on Thursday that a Ural Airlines plane leaving Moscow carrying 226 passengers and seven crew, was forced to land in a cornfield with its wheels up after suffering a bird strike.
The Ural plane, an Airbus A321, “unexpectedly” hit “numerous” birds (thought to be either seagulls or crows) that disrupted its engines shortly after departing Zhukovsky Airport, Moscow. The aircraft reportedly landed with its engines off and its landing gear up.
RT reported 76 passengers, including 19 children, received injuries during the landing, but there was no loss of life. ABC News, citing Russia’s emergency ministry, added six people had been hospitalised.
Кукурузное поле, вспаханная борозда и самолёт.
Панорамное видео с коптера. pic.twitter.com/pt7GYk5rpS
— baza (@bazabazon) August 15, 2019
The plane’s engines were turned off during the emergency landing and it also had its landing gear up, Elena Mikheyeva, a spokeswoman for Russia’s civil aviation authority, told ABC news.
It has also been reported the malfunctioning engines were turned off to avoid the possibility of a fire.
Footage shot by passengers showed the flight lasted less than two minutes and the engines had experienced difficulties almost immediately after take-off.
Ural Airlines CEO Sergey Skuratov told RT the scale of the bird strike was in fact something out of the ordinary.
“It is quite rare, it happens maybe once in 50 years.”
There have also been reports that passengers were not made aware that the plane would be making an emergency landing.
Footage shows silence in the cabin and then screams from passengers as the jet touched down.
“One of the stewardesses said there was smoke coming from the plane and we immediately panicked,” Vitya Babin, 11, who was on the plane with his mother and sister, said according to ABC News.
“We ran after one of the men. He said ‘follow me’,” Babin said.
Passengers were evacuated by escape slides and were told to distance themselves from the plane.