Russia lauds ‘hero’ pilots after emergency landing near Moscow

Russia has lauded two pilots who landed a plane carrying a total of 233 people in a cornfield outside Moscow after the plane struck a flock of birds during take-off as heroes.

The government said they would be handed state awards for their bravery.

Russians had called the incident a miracle as no one was killed when the plane belonging to Ural Airlines, an Airbus 321, came down in the cornfield in the southeast of part of Moscow.

About 55 people, including 17 children, were treated for injuries while six of the passengers have been hospitalized, Reuters reports.

State television said the incident was being dubbed the “miracle over Ramensk”, the name of the district near Moscow where the plane came down around one kilometre (0.62 miles) from Zhukovsky International Airport.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid praised pilot Damir Yusupov as a “hero,” saying he had saved 233 lives, “having masterfully landed a plane without its landing gear with a failing engine right in a cornfield.”
Some drew comparisons with U.S. Airways Flight 1549 which performed a landing on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 after striking a flock of geese.

“We congratulate the hero pilots who saved people’s lives,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that the Kremlin would see that the men were quickly given state honours. “There’s no doubt about this. They will be given awards.”

The plane’s engines were turned off when it executed the emergency landing, and it also had its landing gear up, according to Elena Mikheyeva, a spokeswoman for Russia’s civil aviation authority.