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Moscow’s belly-landed plane was fully operational before takeoff, airline says

Shortly after takeoff both of the aircraft’s engines sucked in birds and caught fire

YEKATERINBURG, August 16. /TASS/. The Ural Airlines’ belly-landed Airbus A321 plane was fully operational prior to takeoff, CEO of the airline Sergey Skuratov told TASS on Friday.

"We have a great maintenance center, we control every move of planes, therefore, we have no doubt it was fully operational. Although, they will definitely study it in the airline," he said.

The Ural Airlines will give a special bonus to the crew of the Airbus A321 plane.

"The crew will definitely be rewarded," Skuratov said, responding to a question on whether a bonus for the crew is warranted, without specifying the amount.

On Thursday, the Ural Airlines Airbus A321 was heading to Simferopol from Moscow when it made a belly landing near Zhukovsky International Airport. According to the Federal Air Transport Agency, the plane struck a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. Both of the aircraft’s engines sucked in some of them and caught fire. There were over 230 people aboard the aircraft, 226 passenger and 41 children.

The crew managed to land the plane in a cornfield and evacuate all passengers. According to latest reports, a total of 76 people, including 19 children, were injured.