Russian airliner forced to land in corn field
Following a hydraulic failure, a Russian aircraft carrying 170 passengers was compelled to execute an emergency landing in a field.
Fortunately, no injuries occurred during this incident, which resulted in the Ural Airlines Airbus A320 being stranded near a forest in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia.
Ural Airlines clarified that the pilot carefully chose the landing site after the hydraulic systems malfunctioned while approaching Omsk.
This occurrence triggered denials from the airline regarding any operational difficulties caused by sanctions on Russia. Images depicted the aircraft marooned in a cornfield, with its emergency doors open and ramps deployed, and passengers milling about.
A video circulating on social media revealed heavy machinery disassembling the plane, removing its cockpit, tail, and wings to facilitate its extraction from the field.
Russia’s aviation authority, Rosaviatsia, reported that the “unscheduled landing” took place during the early hours of Tuesday and noted that the landing site had been “chosen from the air” near the village of Kamenka.
Remarkably, none of the passengers required medical assistance. Rosaviatsia announced an investigation into the emergency landing, and Ural Airlines stated that the crew had been suspended pending the completion of the investigation.
Sergei Skuratov, the head of Ural Airlines, disclosed that one of the aircraft’s hydraulic systems had malfunctioned during its flight from Sochi on the Black Sea coast to Omsk.
He denied that the plane had caught fire, saying apparent scorch marks above one of the wings seen in pictures on social media were “just dirt”.
A catastrophic failure of a plane’s hydraulic systems can lead to a loss of flight control.
However, Russian aviation experts said there are backup systems and disputed the crew’s decision to make the landing.
“There are three hydraulic systems, one electric,” pilot Andrei Litvinov told Gazeta.ru of the A320. “There is no need to land the plane in a field.”
He added the decision endangered the lives of those on board and on the ground.
The emergency landing comes as Russian airlines face difficulty obtaining spare parts due to Western sanctions on Moscow over its offensive in Ukraine.
In March, the Russian media outlet Vedomosti quoted Ural Airlines official Igor Poddubny as saying that it had about three months before they began breaking up planes for parts.
However, Mr Skuratov maintained that all of his airline’s planes were serviced with genuine parts.
“We will never allow incorrect spare parts to be used,” Mr Skuratov said. “It’s difficult, with a fight, but all the spare parts used on our aircraft are certified.
“I stake my head on it.”
The Interfax agency reported that the crashed A320 was about 20 years old and had an airworthiness certificate for the end of next year.
Reuters reported in August that Ural Airlines and other Russian airlines had managed to bypass Western sanctions on several occasions, using middlemen in countries including China and the UAE that do not support the restrictions.
A Ural Airlines Airbus A321 was forced to land in a field outside Moscow in 2019 after being hit by gulls during take-off. Around 70 of the 230 people on board were injured in the crash, which Russian media dubbed the “miracle over Ramensk”.