MOSCOW • A passenger jet made an emergency landing in a field outside a Moscow airport yesterday after colliding with a flock of birds, Russian officials said.
The Ural Airlines A321 carrying 226 passengers and a crew of seven hit the birds as it took off from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport bound for Simferopol in Crimea.
The airline said the birds were sucked into both of the plane's engines, causing them to malfunction. The pilot then made an emergency landing in a cornfield about 1km from the airport, with the engines off and the landing gear retracted.
The Russian health authorities said 23 people, including five children, were taken to hospital, and all but one were released following checks and quick treatment.
Ural Airlines lauded the crew for its professionalism in arranging the evacuation. The airline said that Captain Damir Yusupov is a highly experienced pilot who has clocked more than 3,000 flying hours.
"The crew of the Ural Airlines flight showed fantastic skill," said Mr Yevgeny Kuyvashev, the governor of Capt Yusupov's home region. "He and his team saved 233 lives. They are heroes."
Footage from the scene showed the pilot directing the passengers to walk away from the plane across the field.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE