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15 Aug, 2019 15:44

‘We’re all alive thanks to pilot’: Passengers recall dramatic Ural Airlines’ belly-landing

‘We’re all alive thanks to pilot’: Passengers recall dramatic Ural Airlines’ belly-landing

It was a chilling experience for passengers of the A321 jet as they watched it descend for an emergency landing in a field outside Moscow after a troublesome take off. They are now lauding the pilots for saving their lives.

The plane with 233 people on board appears to have struck a flock of gulls as it accelerated on the runway as it left Zhukovsky Airport, south-east of Moscow.

“As the plane was taking off, it was clear that something was wrong with the engines. It took a very long time to gain speed,” a passenger, a man in his 20s, told RT.
“We started falling, we had that distinctive sound when the plane tried to restart the engines but they couldn’t do it,” a young woman added.

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The pilots, 41-year-old Captain Damir Yusupov and his 23-year-old First Officer Georgy Murzin, didn’t have time to return to the airport as they were flying quite low above ground level.

In fact, they had only few seconds left to quickly find an open space below them and prepare to make a bumpy but fortunate belly landing. As the protocol prescribes, the engines were shut down but the landing gear wasn’t deployed.

“We saw the field approaching, everyone grouped as I tried to protect my kids,” another woman recalled.  “But the captain did well, he landed the plane and everyone applauded him when he exited [the cockpit].”

“I think we are all alive thanks to him,” she suggested.

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There was no panic on board even though the touchdown was rough, passengers said. “They evacuated the plane on their own ... the pilot did a great job, he landed the plane really carefully,” the young woman continued. Flight attendants told everyone to leave their stuff behind and escape using the A321’s eight doors.

In countless videos that have spread swiftly across social media, survivors can be seen calmly exiting the aircraft, reaching out to loved ones by phone and making sure that others made it out alive.

Also on rt.com ‘Moscow Miracle?’ Quick-thinking Russian pilots hailed for safely landing airliner after birdstrike

“This is my second birthday!” an old woman was heard exclaiming in a video taken by one of the passengers, as other evacuees made their way through the cornfield. “Now I believe in God, for sure,” a Twitter user confessed, uploading an image of the jet.

As the public called for the crew to be honored, the Kremlin announced that it will give state awards to the “hero” pilots who carried out the emergency landing. Aviation pundits have also reflected on the remarkable event, telling RT that the conduct of the pilots and crew was “brilliant.”

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