MOSCOW — A Russian pilot whose airplane lost power in both engines after a bird strike miraculously made a successful emergency landing in some cornfields, saving the lives of everyone on board.
According to the Associated Press, the Ural Airlines Airbus A321 was carrying 226 passengers and seven crew when it took off from Moscow's Zhukovsky Airport for Simferopol in Crimea on Thursday.
According to a statement from Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency, shortly after takeoff, the plane "collided with a flock of gulls" and some of the birds were sucked into the engines.
According to 23-year-old co-pilot Georgy Murzin, the strike caused the left engine to stall immediately.
More birds then got into the right engine, causing it to become unstable and eventually stall too.
Pilot Damir Yusupov then made the split second decision to land the fully loaded plane with its wheels up in a cornfield.
The 41-year-old pilot was able to bring the aircraft down so smoothly that everyone survived.
According to the Emergencies Ministry, 74 people asked for medical assistance after the crash landing, but all were released except for one person following check-ups.
The pilot and crew are now being hailed as heroes.
The AP reports that bird strikes occur regularly, but it's rare for them to disable both engines.
Russian officials have said an investigation into the incident has been opened.