Within 15 minutes, representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, police, regional administration and doctors arrived at the scene. By this time, almost all passengers and six crew members had abandoned the plane via emergency inflatable slides. 161 people, including 23 children and a pregnant woman. Two children are babies. They will not remember anything, but their parents will tell them years later how they returned from sunny Sochi.
“The pilots did a great job! They saved everyone, no one had a scratch,” says a passenger who got off the plane wearing only a T-shirt, despite the cold wind. He doesn’t feel cold. What is the cold compared to a certain death that was avoided? According to another passenger, Maria, she did not panic during boarding: she fully trusted the flight attendants, who confidently gave her instructions.
Five passengers on the plane needed minor medical assistance. But in general none of them have a scratch.
Five passengers on the plane needed minor medical assistance. They both had high blood pressure. Two more were sent to the hospital for X-rays with bruising. They were injured during the evacuation. A passenger suffered a bronchial asthma attack. But overall, none of them have a scratch!
As noted by Nikolai Terentyev, deputy head of the Ubinsky district, this event must certainly be immortalized. We haven’t decided how yet. Perhaps it is a commemorative plaque in that same field. It belongs to a farm called Lenin Collective Farm. Where wheat was planted, there now remains a deep footprint of the plane. By the way, the plane will not be evacuated for a long time, it will not be possible to lift it into the air. The deputy director added that experts from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Novosibirsk region will assess the damage caused to the crops and, possibly, pay compensation to the farmer. Perhaps the “Leninist” accepts it, although he himself, by sowing wheat, helped save lives. People said that the landing was softer than at the airfield. Still, plowed land…
Meanwhile, the airline described in detail what happened on board this time. Approaching Omsk, the “green” hydraulic system failed during the plane’s landing. In such cases, the commander must go around and assess the possible dangers. The situation is normal, not out of the ordinary. Situations like this have happened before. The plane has three hydraulic systems: green, yellow and blue. Each one is responsible for the operation of certain elements of the aircraft. If the green hydraulic system fails, deviations in the operation of the spoilers (brake flaps) and flaps are observed, so the landing distance may increase. For greater reliability, the ship’s commander considered it necessary to go to an alternative airfield in Novosibirsk, since in Omsk the runway is 2500 meters, and in Novosibirsk – 3000 meters.
High winds, low flight levels, and extended landing gear doors that could not be retracted increased fuel consumption. The commander, in order not to take risks, decided to land at a selected location from the air, with the landing gear extended.
Sergei Skuratov, general director of Ural Airlines, suggested how the landing in wheat occurred: “I think, first of all, the pilot saw that the field was flat. When they planted corn 2.5 meters high, it was not clear of what kind “Here everything is visible. The landing with the landing gear was smooth, careful and without overloads. To prevent the wheels from getting stuck, in this case the front leg should be kept as suspended as possible and lowered gently. … We teach this to the pilots at the training complex.”
Now a state commission, which will include representatives of the International Aviation Committee, the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office, will investigate the causes of the accident and evaluate the actions of the crew. A criminal case has been initiated under Article 263 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Violation of traffic safety rules and operation of air transport.”
The flight attendants worked harmoniously and within a few minutes helped all passengers evacuate through emergency hatches and inflatable slides. The plane did not catch fire or break down. What many took in the photographs as traces of fire was dirt escaping from under the chassis.
Infographic “RG” / Alexander Chistov / Nikita Mityunin
The crew, applauded by passengers for saving 161 lives, will be suspended from flying for at least a month pending an investigation. The airline promises to restore the plane. It is not damaged externally, but is being examined in detail. “We will try to restore it. I don’t know how we will evacuate it from there, but in world practice there have been cases like this. The wings, the engines are disconnected and everything is transported.”
Who are they, the heroes of the wheat field?
The crew of the Airbus A320 flying on the Sochi – Omsk route consisted of six people, including two girls. The commander of the plane is the third generation pilot Sergei Belov, he is from the Moscow squadron, the rest are from the Urals. Since he was little, Sergei, who will turn 33 in two weeks, dreamed of being a pilot, like his father and his grandfather. In his autobiography, the pilot wrote: “I simply cannot imagine another profession and dream of continuing my family’s famous flying dynasty.”
The second pilot, Eduard Semenov, is 56 years old. He lives in the town of Berezovsky, near Yekaterinburg. He got sky sick after the movie “Crew,” which he saw in eighth grade. Could he have known then that one day he himself would find himself in exactly the same situation as the legendary movie heroes whom he admired…?
“In the morning, my husband called me again and assured me that everything was fine with the passengers and crew. He knows I’m very impressionable. If I had found out about the incident on television and not from him, I would have had to be rescued! – Edward’s wife Anna told RG. – I am proud that my last name is Semenova. We are raising three children together, they are 15, 13 and 8 years old. Today I told my middle son that his dad didn’t live his life in vain! Eduard has worked for the airline for ten years.
“The crew is very experienced, we flew with both,” Urals pilot Vladimir Shabrin shared with the RG correspondent. – They have a sense of humor, they are both understanding, kind, they always follow the letter of the law, they are both obedient. I think this is now a great source of pride for their families, especially for dad Sergei Belov, who was also a pilot. The heroes’ colleague added that the crew’s actions in the event of a hydraulic failure are outlined in the FCOM and QRH aircraft documents, which the crew strictly follows.
Meanwhile, the governor of the Omsk region, Vitaly Jotsenko, announced that he would nominate the Ural Airlines crew for the regional awards.
Ekaterina Kuznetsova, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Ubinsky Vestnik, especially Rossiyskaya Gazeta:
“I was very surprised that the behavior of the passengers who had just suffered an emergency landing did not show signs of panic, or even anxiety. As if everything that happens is normal. We sat down calmly, evacuated from the plane via the stairs, calmly waited for the buses, arrived at the Ubinsky Palace of Culture and sat down to drink tea. Everything’s fine. No tears, no complaints. One woman asked to have her blood pressure measured and that was it. Only after a while, apparently when they began to realize what had happened, signs of general excitement appeared. But even those were barely noticed. Yes, there were doctors on duty. Yes, the smell of valerian wafted through the hallway. Tapes of cardiograms ran back and forth down the hall. But there is no hysteria, no scandals, none of that, and this bravery of those who barely escaped death commands great respect.
Eduard Semyonov got sky sick after watching the movie “Crew” in eighth grade. Could he have known then that he himself would find himself in exactly the same situation?
Cartoons were shown for the children in the cultural center. The adults quietly discussed what had happened between them. “It’s a miracle,” they said. “According to statistics, 80 percent of aircraft in such a situation fall apart. And we are all safe and sound.” I’m not an expert, I don’t know those statistics, but it was clear how important it was to those who were able to survive. The crew stayed away and law enforcement officers immediately began working on them. And this work was still in progress when passengers began to be sent home. People were worried about the pilots. One of the passengers, Sergei, told me: “You are a journalist, make sure everyone knows: the pilots saved us. They are not guilty of anything. This crew are heroes. And if they are accused of something, we will come.” Take to the streets and demand to be left alone!
Of course, this is an emergency. And I must say that the operational services and authorities responded very quickly and harmoniously. By the way, the first to arrive at the field was the head of the district, our Oleg Konyuk. And the first six passengers were sent to Novosibirsk in an administration vehicle.
This happens once in a lifetime, you say. It would be better never! But I was happy when the passengers joked: “Airplanes land here every day? Everything is very well organized!”
Damir Yusupov: I’m proud of you, crew.
Ural Airlines pilot Damir Yusupov, who in 2019 managed to land an emergency plane in a cornfield near Zhukovsky, near Moscow, shared his emotions about today’s landing of his colleagues in the Novosibirsk region.
He learned the news while literally taxiing into the airport parking lot after another flight.
“The passengers and crew are safe and sound, the plane did not suffer significant damage. The most important thing is that today everyone will return home to their loved ones. There is nothing more valuable than life,” he wrote on his page in the social network. VKontakte.
He added: “This is very exciting news for me as I experienced something similar myself. I’m proud of you crew.”
Prepared by Tatyana Vorobyova