MIAMI — An Ural Airlines Airbus A321 crash-landed into a cornfield shortly after take-off with 226 passengers and seven crew on board, due to a bird strike.
Flight U6-178 departed from Moscow-Zhukovsky Airport (Russia) to Simferopol (Ukraine).
The aircraft operating the flight, an Airbus A321 (VQ-BOZ • MSN2117), first flew in December 2003. The 15.7-year-old airframe sustained significant damage after performing the emergency landing.
Ural Airlines confirmed that the crash was caused by a bird strike, much like the “Miracle on the Hudson” accident that occurred in January 2009. Back then, a US Airways A320 landed on the Hudson River in New York City after a catastrophic bird strike.
Today, miraculously, everyone on board survived, some with minor injuries. Ten passengers needed medical attention and were transported to a hospital near Zhukovsky. The rest of the passengers and crew were taken back to the airport.
The Russian Ministry of Transport backed up the statement released by Ural Airlines, noting that immediately after taking off, the aircraft hit a flock of seagulls, causing the right-hand engine to fail, and the left-hand engine to sustain damage, crippling the plane’s ability to fly. The right engine lit up on fire, which led to a forced landing into the field.
Russia’s Ministry of Transport has also set up a commission to carry out an investigation into the crash, state prosecution have also started a criminal investigation.
The flight crew has spoken to press, confirming that they hit the flock of birds shortly after take-off while preforming a right-hand turn. The captain of the plane quickly took control and landed in the field.