With 170 occupants aboard, a Russian passenger plane executed a flawless wheels-down crisis landing on a vast expanse of field this Tuesday, as confirmed by officials. Remarkably, the incident did not result in any significant injuries.
The embattled aircraft, an Airbus A320 under the banner of Ural Airlines, was initially charting its course from the Black Sea resort of Sochi to the distant reaches of Omsk in eastern Siberia. Mid-flight, the crew encountered complications with the hydraulic system, prompting them to petition for clearance to descend upon the extended runway of Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk.
Sergei Skuratov, Ural Airlines Director General, disclosed that amid an escalating fuel crisis, the pilots discerned their inability to reach Novosibirsk. Consequently, they took the decisive action of grounding the plane approximately 200 kilometers (or 125 miles) west of Novosibirsk, in an open field.
Assurances were made by the officials regarding the absence of any significant hurts. However, two passengers did need medical intervention owing to hypertension, with a few others receiving minor checks for incidental bruising.
Russian media sources carried images of the plane resting securely in the field, devoid of any visible structural damage. They quoted passengers lauding the crew’s technical prowess and calm demeanor amidst an undoubtedly tense situation.
The skilled hands at the helm were those of the plane’s captain, 32-year-old Sergei Belov, a legacy pilot whose father and grandfather were both seasoned aviators. Following the incident, Russian prosecutors delved into a detailed investigation of the emergency landing.
Skuratov would go on to vehemently refute implications that the incident resulted from negligent maintenance of the aircraft. This was in response to speculation tying the event to sanctions enforced by the U.S. and its allies as retaliation against Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine, which included a restriction on the transfer of spare plane parts.
Resilient in the face of adversity, the Ural Airlines chief reiterated the company’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of its entire fleet amidst the complications posed by such sanctions.
Notably, a similar incident occurred involving another Ural Airlines aircraft in 2019. An A321 was forced to make an emergency landing in a field near Moscow following a collision with a flock of birds during takeoff, resulting in minor injuries to 74 of the 233 passengers on board. A state honor had been conferred to the crew in recognition of their stellar work.