A PACKED tourist Airbus-321 made a terrifying emergency landing in a cornfield earlier today after a birds reportedly got caught both engines shortly after take-off.
All 226 passengers and even crew were reported to have evacuated from the Russian aircraft, but there were reports of injuries.
Birds became caught in both engines on the early morning take-off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky International Airport.
News outlet 112 said when a bird got into the left engine it caught fire, and at the same time the second engine stopped working.
With one engine on fire passengers reported “a flash and then a smell of smoke”.
Hero pilot Damir Yusupov called for an emergency landing at the airport but then decided to bring the plane down at the earliest opportunity – in a cornfield near Ramenskoye settlement in Moscow region, reported 1TV channel.
He had no engine power when he landed, say reports.
Preliminary reports say all on board survived the air drama but 15 people received injuries mainly during the emergency evacuation.
One passenger said: “We are standing in the middle of the field.
“One lad broke his arm. Another one broke his finger.
“They told us nothing. The engine clapped several times, they tried to restart it, and we began to fall down.
“I was holding onto the cross around my neck and now I do believe in God.”
The captain reported that he could Yusupov got in control of the situation, chose the place for landing and landed.
A teenage boy passenger who was streaming a report from the field where the plane landed said: “I am from a plane that came down.
“We were taking off from Zhukovsky, and some five seconds after were were off the ground, the plane began to shake in a very strong way.
“In another five seconds the lights on the right side of the plane started flashing and we felt the smell of smoke.
“Then the plane landed and everyone rushed out. All is good.”
Ural Airlines press service said: “While taking off from Zhukovsky airport, multiple birds got into the engines of the plane of the flight U6178.
“The plane had an emergency landing. The crew and passengers were not hurt.”
We took off and fell back down in the field. The pilot saved all our lives.
Passenger Lyudmila Shavrova
The plane was packed with tourists en route to Simferopol, capital of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.
A later report from the Emergencies ministry said 10 people were injured during emergency landing.
Three were rushed to hospitals.
One man had a broken arm and two children suffered concussion.
The official Tass news agency put the number hurt at 23, citing an unidentified person.
It was later reported that the plane had come down in the cornfield without its landing gear lowered.
A dramatic video from BAZA online news showed a passenger’s recording of the landing.
Screams are heard as the aircraft comes down with a series of jolts on the ground.
The passenger cannot keep control of the camera as the plane hits the field.
One emotional passenger said: “We collapsed, but the hero pilots managed to land the big bird.
“Huge respect to them. I can’t speak in fact, my heart is racing.
“Congratulations to me and all other passengers on surviving… ah, it was so scary.”
Passenger Lyudmila Shavrova said: “We took off and fell back down in the field. The pilot saved all our lives.”
Lyudmila Kolesnikova said: “Damir (the pilot) I bow to you for your professionalism, for every life that you saved today.
“An enormous thank you. Wishing you long, healthy life!”
It emerged the pilot had only learned to fly at the age of 32, despite dreaming of being an airman since childhood, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He has around 2,000 hours flying experience.
More to follow…