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.
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.