London - A Russian pilot has been hailed a hero for landing a jet carrying 233 passengers in a corn field after a bird strike took out both engines.
The Ural Airlines flight from Moscow to Simferopol in the Crimea came down three miles (about 4.8km) from take-off when it hit a flock of seagulls on Thursday.
The Airbus A321 made a "belly" landing with the engines off and its wheels retracted. Passengers, who cheered on landing, were evacuated using inflatable ramps. Twenty three were hurt, but none seriously.
"Everyone is alive. The pilot is a genius," said one.
According to Fox News, the Ministry of Health said 23 passengers suffered mostly minor injuries in the landing, which state television dubbed the “miracle over Ramensk” in a reference to 2009’s “Miracle on the Hudson" near New York City.
A passenger told state TV that lights started flashing and there was a smell of burning before they landed, Reuters reported.
The airline said the pilot of the Crimea-bound flight was highly experienced and had logged more than 3 000 flying hours.