Miracle of the cornfield! Hero pilot safely belly-lands a flaming Russian jet carrying 233 people on farmland after a flock of birds got sucked into both engines during take-off (30 Pics)

A Russian pilot has been hailed as a hero after he successfully crash-landed a passenger plane in a cornfield today after birds were sucked into both engines, causing them to fail. 
Ural Airlines Flight U1678 was taking off from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport at 6.10am local time bound for Simferopol, Crimea, when it suffered a double bird strike, causing one engine to burst into flames and the other to stop working.
Captain Damir Yusupov, 41, radioed the airport asking to make an emergency landing but was forced to ditch into a cornfield a mile away after realising he was not going to make it. 
Yusupov brought the plane down with no power in either engine and with the landing gear retracted.  
Ural Airlines Flight U1678 was taking off from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport for Simferopol, in Crimea, when it hit the birds during takeoff. The pilot began to climb before the engines failed, tried to circle back around to the airport but had to land in a nearby field after losing power. Luckily nobody was seriously hurt
Ural Airlines Flight U1678 was taking off from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport for Simferopol, in Crimea, when it hit the birds during takeoff. The pilot began to climb before the engines failed, tried to circle back around to the airport but had to land in a nearby field after losing power. Luckily nobody was seriously hurt
A Ural Airlines jet carrying 226 passengers and seven crew crash landed in a Russian cornfield Thursday morning after a flock of birds got sucked into the engines during takeoff
A Ural Airlines jet carrying 226 passengers and seven crew crash landed in a Russian cornfield Thursday morning after a flock of birds got sucked into the engines during takeoff
The plane was heading from Moscow to Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is a popular summer destination for families when it came crashing down
 The plane was heading from Moscow to Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is a popular summer destination for families when it came crashing down
In total, 23 of the 226 passengers and seven crew on board were sent to hospital for minor injuries, though only one - a 69-year-old woman - required further treatment.
Russian media immediately began comparing the crash to the Miracle on the Hudson, when pilot Chesley Sullenberger successfully landed a plane on New York's Hudson River in 2009 after hitting a flock of geese.

Captain Damir Yusupov, 41, was hailed as a hero after he managed to bring the plane down without any engine power or landing gear and without causing any major injuries
Captain Damir Yusupov, 41, was hailed as a hero after he managed to bring the plane down without any engine power or landing gear and without causing any major injuries
All 155 people aboard the US Airways Airbus A320 were rescued by nearby boats with few serious injuries. 
Passengers reported seeing 'a flash and then a smell of smoke' as one of the engines caught fire, before the second also stopped working. 
'It all happened in a few seconds... We took off and came back down,' passenger Irina Usacheva told state television channel Rossiya 24.
Passenger Svetlana Babina said the bird strike could be heard from inside the plane and that the engines started making 'strange noises'.
'We have to pay tribute to the pilot, in the circumstances he landed as softly as possible,' she told the RIA Novosti news agency.
'Everyone is alive! The pilot is a genius,' passenger Olga told tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, saying applause broke out following the landing. 
'The crew of the Ural Airlines flight showed fantastic skill and cool-headedness,' said Yevgeny Kuyvashev, the governor of Yusupov's home region.
An extraordinary drone video from channel NTV shows plane in the cornfield after the accident.
The footage shows how the captain and his copilot Georgiy Murzin, 23, used the field to act as a brake, despite the terrifying risk of the aircraft’s fuel tanks bursting into flames.
After the evacuation, passengers rushed to embrace and thank Yusupov and his flight attendants who helped them exit the stricken Airbus.
In total, 23 people received minor injuries during the crash, but only one person - a 69-year-old woman - required further treatment after being taken to hospital
In total, 23 people received minor injuries during the crash, but only one person - a 69-year-old woman - required further treatment after being taken to hospital
Passengers reported seeing a flash and smoke coming from one engine, while the other one could be heard shutting off
Passengers reported seeing a flash and smoke coming from one engine, while the other one could be heard shutting off
Russia's air transport agency said the plane came down with both engines out of action and the landing gear retracted, before skidding to a halt in the field
Russia's air transport agency said the plane came down with both engines out of action and the landing gear retracted, before skidding to a halt in the field
Emergency vehicles surround the plane, having flattened down the corn to provide better access to the crash site
Emergency vehicles surround the plane, having flattened down the corn to provide better access to the crash site
Drone images of the crash site shows how the plane cut through the field before coming to a stop
Drone images of the crash site shows how the plane cut through the field before coming to a stop
Hero pilot Damir Yusupov (left) is seen sitting in the cockpit of the crashed aircraft, next to a member of Russia's air crash investigations committee (right)
Hero pilot Damir Yusupov (left) is seen sitting in the cockpit of the crashed aircraft, next to a member of Russia's air crash investigations committee (right)
'He and his team saved 233 lives. They are heroes.'
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also hailed the 'hero pilots' who landed the plane. 
'The plane's passengers and crew remained alive, we wish a speedy recovery to those injured, and congratulations to the hero pilots who saved lives and landed the plane,' Peskov said. 
Russia's investigative committee said it had opened a probe into the incident.
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.
Five children were among the injured after the plane crashed around 1 mile from the airport
People make their way out of the field towards a line of waiting ambulances following the crash early on Thursday
People make their way out of the field towards a line of waiting ambulances following the crash early on Thursday
Passengers from the Ural Airlines plane make their way through Zhukovsky International Airport after being rescued from the field following the 'miracle' landing
Passengers from the Ural Airlines plane make their way through Zhukovsky International Airport after being rescued from the field following the 'miracle' landing
The plane was going to Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is a popular holiday destination, meaning there were many families and young children on board (pictured left)
The plane was going to Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is a popular holiday destination, meaning there were many families and young children on board (pictured left)
Members of the Russian Investigative Committee surround the aircraft in the corn field, which is located around a mile away from the airport where it took off
Members of the Russian Investigative Committee surround the aircraft in the corn field, which is located around a mile away from the airport where it took off
Experts have suggested that illegal dumping sites close to some of Russia's biggest airports have been attracting birds, which contributed to the crash
Experts have suggested that illegal dumping sites close to some of Russia's biggest airports have been attracting birds, which contributed to the crash
Air crash investigators at the site of the downed plane on Thursday, around a mile from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport
Air crash investigators at the site of the downed plane on Thursday, around a mile from Moscow's Zhukovsky airport
A view shows the Ural Airlines Airbus 321 passenger plane following an emergency landing in a field near Zhukovsky International Airport
A view shows the Ural Airlines Airbus 321 passenger plane following an emergency landing in a field near Zhukovsky International Airport
An investigation into the causes of the crash has been launched, with experts suggesting that illegal dumping sites near Moscow's airports have attracted flocks of birds
An investigation into the causes of the crash has been launched, with experts suggesting that illegal dumping sites near Moscow's airports have attracted flocks of birds
'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.'
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 rsaid 10 people were injured during emergency landing. 
A witness on the ground said: 'I was going fishing when I saw the plane falling down.
'It did hit the ground when landing, and there was smoke visible, not fire, just smoke.
'I stopped a bit away from it and immediately called all the emergency services.
'Then I drove close and saw people coming out.'
The plane had been flying to Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea, a popular summer destination for many Russians.
Zhukovsky, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Moscow city centre, opened in 2016 as Moscow's fourth international airport. A Soviet-era test flight centre, it hosts the biennial MAKS international aviation show.
Ural Airlines Airbus 321 passenger plane following an emergency landing in a field near Zhukovsky Airport in Moscow
Ural Airlines Airbus 321 passenger plane following an emergency landing in a field near Zhukovsky Airport in Moscow
A member of the crew uses a loudspeaker to marshal passengers off the stricken plane after it came to rest in the field
A member of the crew uses a loudspeaker to marshal passengers off the stricken plane after it came to rest in the field
Emergency slides which were used to evacuate passengers from the aircraft after it had skidded to a halt
Emergency slides which were used to evacuate passengers from the aircraft after it had skidded to a halt
Several experts pointed to a growing problem of birds gathering at illegal dumping sites close to Moscow's airports.
'The problem with birds is enormous,' aviation safety expert Alexander Romanov told RIA Novosti. 'It comes from, among other things, landfills that are scattered in violation of all regulations.'
Residents close to Zhukovsky said an illegal landfill was located between the airport and the Moscow river and that seagulls gathered constantly there.
Russia was once notorious for plane accidents but its air traffic safety record has improved in recent years.
The last major accident was in May, when a Sukhoi Superjet belonging to national carrier Aeroflot crash-landed and burst into flames at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, killing 41 people.
The plane, bound for the Arctic city of Murmansk, turned around after being struck by lightning, bounced on the runway on landing and caught fire.
Ambulances, a medical helicopter and passing vehicles stop to help after a passenger plane crashed near Moscow's Zhukovsky airport
Ambulances, a medical helicopter and passing vehicles stop to help after a passenger plane crashed near Moscow's Zhukovsky airport
Russian police officers stand guard near the site of the crash on Thursday morning
Russian police officers stand guard near the site of the crash on Thursday morning
The plane after the crash
The plane after the crash
Witnesses said one of the engines burst into flames after a bird got sucked inside, before the other one also shut down
An ambulance vehicle by Zhukovsky International Airport after a Ural Airlines plane made a hard landing in a field nearby
An ambulance vehicle by Zhukovsky International Airport after a Ural Airlines plane made a hard landing in a field nearby


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