Russia bird strike: Plane crash-lands after hitting seagulls

7:25 am on 16 August 2019

A Russian passenger plane has made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Moscow after striking a flock of birds.

 In this handout video grab released by Russian Investigative Committee, the Airbus A321, which made a hard landing in a corn field near Zhukovsky International Airport, is pictured in Moscow region, Russia.

Photo: AFP

At least 74 people were injured in the incident, which saw the plane land with its engines off and landing gear retracted, emergency officials said.

The Ural Airlines Airbus 321 was travelling to Simferopol in Crimea when it hit the flock of gulls shortly after take-off, disrupting its engines.

State media has dubbed the landing the "miracle over Ramensk".

 In this handout video grab released by Russian Investigative Committee, the Airbus A321, which made a hard landing in a corn field near Zhukovsky International Airport, is pictured in Moscow region, Russia.

Officials inspect the plane after its crash landing in a video grab released by the Russian Investigative Committee. Photo: AFP

The Kremlin has hailed the pilots as heroes for "saving people's lives and landing the plane". A spokesperson said they would receive state awards soon.

The airline said the plane was significantly damaged and would not fly again. An official investigation is under way.

The plane had more than 230 passengers and crew on board when the birds were reportedly sucked into its engines and the crew immediately decided to land.

An unnamed passenger told state TV the plane started to shake violently after take-off.

"Five seconds later, the lights on the right side of the plane started flashing and there was a smell of burning. Then we landed and everyone ran away," he said.

Air transport agency Rosaviatsia said the plane landed in a cornfield about a kilometre from the runway at Zhukovsky International Airport, with its engines off and landing gear retracted.

 In this handout photo released by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, the Airbus A321 plane, which made a hard landing in a corn field near Zhukovsky Airport, in Moscow region, Russia.

The plane sitting in the field near Zhukovsky Airport, in the Moscow region. Photo: AFP

- BBC