Plane with 234 people on board makes crash landing near Moscow
An Airbus A321 plane of Russia’s Ural Airlines made a hard emergency landing in a field near Moscow after engine fire this morning, emergency sources said.
"The plane landed on its belly in a field near the village of Rybaki, which is some 3-5 km away from the runway of the Zhukovsky airport," a source said.
The plane with 234 people on board, including seven crew members, took off from the airport of Zhukovsky in the Moscow region and was bound for the Crimean city of Simferopol. "According to a preliminary version, a bird got ingested into an engine, which led to a fire. During the landing, the plane overshoot the runway," one of the sources said.
All passengers were promptly evacuated.
According to a source, one of the plane’s engines came off during the landing. "It is smoldering, and foam is being poured on it," he said.
The air carrier’s director general and Russia’s emergencies ministry confirmed no deaths or injuries occurred as a result of the incident.
A spokesperson for the Moscow Region health ministry said that 20 ambulance crews and two helicopters are working in the area. "Passengers are receiving medical assistance on site," he said.
According to Ural Airlines, both of the plane’s engines were knocked out by a bird strike that occurred during the takeoff.
"An emergency landing was performed by a plane taking off from Zhukovsky," Ural Airlines Director General Sergei Skuratov said. "[The incident was caused by] ingestion of birds into both of the engines. The engines turned off, the crew performed a landing … about one kilometer away from the runway," TASS cited him as saying.
"The landing was done properly, the plane did not catch fire, all passengers were evacuated," Skuratov said.
The number of people who suffered injuries in the crash landing of a Ural Airlines flight en route from Moscow to Simferopol has risen to 23, an emergency source said.
"A total of 23 people have been injured, including nine children aged between two and nine," the source said.
The plane was significantly damaged and won’t perform flights in the near future, the airline said in a statement.
A probe has been launched into the accident, Spokesperson for the Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Prosecutor’s Office Yekaterina Korotkova said.
Spokesperson for the Committee’s Moscow Inter-Regional Investigation Department Yelena Markovskaya said that the investigation was opened under Article 263.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (failure to satisfy air transport safety requirements). "An investigative team is working on the crash site to figure out the cause and circumstances of the accident," she added.
The Federal Air Transport Agency, in turn, said that a special commission had been established to look into the accident.
The air carrier’s spokesperson said that the crew members of a Ural Airlines flight en route have been suspended until a probe is over. "This is a normal practice," the spokesperson said.