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Bird strike compels airliner carrying over 230 people to make belly landing near Moscow

The plane's engines were presumably knocked out by a bird strike

MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. An Airbus A321 plane of Russia’s Ural Airlines had to land on its belly in a field near Moscow after engine fire on Wednesday, no casualties were reported, emergency sources told TASS.

"The plane landed on its belly in a field near the village of Rybaki, which is some 3-5 km away from the runway of the Zhukovsky airport," one source said.

The plane with 234 people on board, including seven crew members, took off from the airport of Zhukovsky in the Moscow region and was bound for the Crimean city of Simferopol. "According to a preliminary version, a bird got ingested into an engine, which led to a fire. During the landing, the plane overshoot the runway," one of the sources said.

All passengers were promptly evacuated.

According to a source, one of the plane’s engines came off during the landing. "It is smoldering, and foam is being poured on it," he said.

The air carrier’s director general and Russia’s emergencies ministry confirmed no deaths or injuries occurred as a result of the incident.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Moscow Region health ministry said that although no passengers have been hospitalized, some are being treated on site.

"20 ambulance crews and two helicopters are working in the area. Passengers are receiving medical assistance on site," he said.

According to Ural Airlines, both of the plane’s engines were knocked out by a bird strike that occurred during the takeoff.

"An emergency landing was performed by a plane taking off from Zhukovsky," Ural Airlines Director General Sergei Skuratov said. "[The incident was caused by] ingestion of birds into both of the engines. The engines turned off, the crew performed a landing … about one kilometer away from the runway," he said.

"The landing was done properly, the plane did not catch fire, all passengers were evacuated. No one was killed or injured," Skuratov said.