Hero Pilot Lands Plane In Field Near Moscow After Destructive 'Bird Strike'

It’s the Russian version of “the Miracle on the Hudson.” Maybe Hollywood could make a movie about it (with Steve Mnuchin producing, of course).

In a harrowing incident that nearly resulted in dozens of deaths, a narrow-body jet flown by Russia’s Ural Airlines landed with its wheels up in the Russian countryside not far from Moscow after suffering a bird strike. The plane had taken off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport only shortly before.

Those who saw the movie “Sully” (or who are simply old enough to remember the incident when it happened), will remember that bird strikes were what took out the engines on US Airways Flight 1549, which then lost thrust and was emergency landed by hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in the middle of the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009. A decade later, Hollywood made a movie about the accident, which was produced by Mnuchin, who produced films before joining the Trump Administration.

During Thursday’s accident, the Airbus A321 bound for Simferopol, Crimea, was unexpectedly struck by “numerous” seagulls or crows shortly after departing from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport. With no time to make it back or dump fuel, the jet, which was heavy loaded, made the belly landing in a cornfield 1k from the runway.

Almost miraculously, nobody on board died (though 74 of the 226 passengers reported injuries).

Stunning footage from inside the cabin later surfaced online, according to RT.

Media footage also showed the aftermath of the crash.

People later described the traumatic experience they went through.

“The engine clapped several times, they tried to re-activate it but we started going down,” one passenger said. “Now I believe in God, for sure.”

“This is my second birthday,” another woman can be heard saying in a video taken by the survivors.

The airline praised the pilot’s skill and heroism in successfully landing the plane. He even knew enough to switch off the malfunctioning engines just before impact to avoid the possibility of a fire on board. The crew received praise for executing a “well-organized evacuation.”

“It is quite rare, it happens maybe once in 50 years,” Ural Airlines CEO Sergey Skuratov said the scale of the birdstrike

Russia’s Rosaviatsiya state aviation agency chief Alexander Neradko said the crew “made the only right decisions,” and that the captain, 41-year old Damir Yusupov, is a highly experienced pilot who has logged over 3,000 flight hours, the Washington Post reported.

One aviation expert said the landing was “quite a feat.”

“It was quite a feat to keep the plane from stalling and quickly find a place to land,” Viktor Zabolotsky, a former test pilot, said in televised remarks.

Yusupov, a son of a helicopter pilot, worked as a lawyer before he changed course and joined a flight school when he was 32. A father of four, he has flown with the Ural Airlines since his graduation in 2013 and became the captain last year.