A narrow-body airliner operated by Russia’s Ural Airlines and carrying 226 passengers and seven crew, landed with its wheels up in the countryside near Moscow after suffering a "rare" birdstrike.
Bound for Simferopol, Crimea, the Airbus A321 unexpectedly struck “numerous” seagulls or crows shortly after departing from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport, the airline confirmed.
With no deployed undercarriages, the jet made a belly landing in a cornfield 1km from the runway. The malfunctioning engines were switched off just moments before the bumpy touchdown to avoid fire on board, it has been reported.
Видео посадки А321 на кукурузное поле в Подмосковье. Снимает один из пассажиров.
Судя по звуку, двигатели работают с перебоями.
Ural Airlines CEO Sergey Skuratov said the scale of the birdstrike was something out of the ordinary.
“It is quite rare, it happens maybe once in 50 years.”
Luckily, there was no blaze on board the ill-fated Airbus and no one died in the chilling incident. Still, 23 passengers – including five children – received minor injuries and were hospitalized, Health Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the airline praised the crew for professionallism during the hair raising landing as well as for “well-organized evacuation.”
People later described the traumatic experience they went through.
“The engine clapped several times, they tried to re-activate it but we started going down,” one man wrote on Twitter uploading a video of the jet.
“Now I believe in God, for sure.”
“This is my second birthday,” another woman is heard saying in a video seemingly taken by one of the passengers.
The Thursday incident is reminiscent of a 2009 incident known as the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ involving US Airways Flight 1549, when an Airbus A320 flown by Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles hit a flock of geese after takeoff from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and lost all engine power. Unable to land at any available airport, they had to ditch the jet in the Hudson River outside Manhattan, with all 155 rescued by nearby ferries and boats.