MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. The decision to make an emergency landing of the Airbus A321 in a cornfield in the Moscow region was made after the second engine stopped working, the plane's captain Damir Yusupov told Rossiya-1 TV channel on Thursday.
"The engines were not working well enough to continue the flight, even to maintain the altitude that we have gained by that moment. The altitude was insignificant. At first, we decided to turn around and land but when we saw that the second engine has stopped working, I made a decision to land where we were," Yusupov said. He added that preparations for the flight were carried out in the routine mode.
After both engines stopped working, it became clear that crash landing was inevitable, he continued. "I made attempts to make the landing as soft as possible, so that the plane touches the ground with a minimal vertical speed," Yusupov noted. He explained that the crew decided to land the plane without chassis since it was safer that way. "It is safer to land a plane without chassis as it could have turned around, with far worse consequences," the pilot said.
An Ural Airlines Airbus A321 en route from Moscow to Simferopol made a belly landing near Zhukovsky International Airport earlier on Thursday. 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 several birds and caught fire. There were 226 people aboard the aircraft, including 41 children.
The crew managed to land the plane in a cornfield and evacuate all passengers. According to medical sources, 76 people sought medical attention in the wake of the crash-landing. Currently, one woman remains hospitalized.