Ural Airlines Airbus A321 Crashes Into Cornfield After Birdstrike

An Airbus A321 belonging to Ural Airlines has crashed into a cornfield in Russia. Reports suggest that both engines failed following a dual birdstrike experienced by the aircraft. At present, it is believed there are no fatalities involved.

Ural Airlines, Airbus A321, Crash
This Ural Airlines Airbus A321 crashed into a cornfield earlier today. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Dual engine failures are incredibly rare, however, when they do happen, the aircraft involved becomes a giant glider. When the incidents occur during takeoff, there is no time to try and restart an engine, thus the focus becomes landing the aircraft safely. Most famously, this saw Captain Chesley Sullenberger ditching an Airbus A320 in the river Hudson after losing both engines in a similar birdstrike.

Moscow to Simferopol

Today’s Ural Airlines flight was due to fly from Moscow in Russia to Simferopol in Crimea. The flight, U6-178, was today due to depart from Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport at 06:10. Following a 2-hour 25-minute flight, it was due to arrive in Simferopol at 08:35 in the morning.

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Ural Airlines, Airbus A321, Crash
The aircraft’s intended flight path. Image: GCMaps

However, this morning, the aircraft made it no further than a cornfield just off of the end of the runway. The Av Herald reports that the field was 2.77 nautical miles past the end of the runway, and the aircraft crash-landed with its gear up.

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Ural Airlines, Airbus A321, Crash
The aircraft crashed into a cornfield shortly after takeoff. Image: FlightRadar24.com

Everybody safely evacuated

Everybody was safely evacuated from the aircraft, according to reports. There were 227 passengers and six crew on board. This included six children. Of these aircraft occupants, only ten were injured, three of those children.

The occupants of the aircraft were evacuated using the emergency escape slides. It has additionally been reported that the aircraft has sustained substantial damage. Those needing medical attention were taken to hospital, while others were bussed back to the airport of origin.

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Potential engine fire?

According to the Russian Ministry of Transport, the cause of the cornfield landing was a “failure of the right-hand engine, that caught fire following a bird strike”. However, it has been reported that the flight crew mentioned that the left engine failed first, then the right engine.

Additionally, it has been reported that when rescuers arrived on the scene, the right engine was smoking, but not alight. Rescue crews sprayed the engines to cool them while double-checking the cabin for any passengers.

Thankfully everybody was safely evacuated in this instance, something which unfortunately did not happen in another Moscow accident earlier in the year. Footage shared on social media does, unfortunately, show that some passengers stopped to retrieve their personal belongings while evacuating the aircraft. This is something which has been noted in several recent evacuations and can hamper people attempting to safely leave the aircraft.

What do you make of the accident? Were you on board the flight? Let us know in the comments.

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Yves

Good job. Landing in a cornfield is really not funny. A really brutal brake !

Congratulation to the crew !

Nice to read they are all safe.

Erik

How much time between take off and landing was there? Props to the crew for landing the plane but why wouldn’t they have put the landing gear back down? Its not like in the Sully landing where he was landing in water so leaving the gear up made good sense, it was a field!

Nigel

It was a rather rough field, full of furrows and irregularities that could snag the landing gear and cause the plane to flip; as far as I know, gear-up landings are standard for surfaces that aren’t hard and smooth. But timing also probably played a role…there probably wasn’t enough time to get the gear down, whether the pilots wanted to or not.
One way or another: hats off to these pilots!

Hein

If you were a pilot, as I am – PPL with IFR and multi-engine ratings – Mr Engineer, you’d know that ALL fields are rough…….

Gretna
RR

Hi Tom, thank you for the report. Just one correction: this was a domestic flight, both: Moscow and Simferopol are in Russia (Simferopol is the capital of Crimea).

Oscar

The world recognises Crimea as part of Ukraine. This website is not Russian, so the Russian story is not told.

Hein

Textbook landing. Taught in basic flightschool: do not attempt to turn back as you CANNOT make the runway, fly straight and level at Vmin+5kts, gear up (if in a retractable), flaps max, and gently ease her onto the ground, hoping there are no deep ditches or obstacles. These guys did a great job and were lucky their emergency ‘airport’ was a cornfield. Well done. Adherence to basic airmanship will pay dividends, given a tiny bit of luck. When I lived in the US some 30 plus yrs ago, the crew and occupants of a DC9 which had a dble flame-out… Read more »

Herb33

Useful to know which engine type, could be V2500 or CFM56. Also interesting to know what type of birds , if gulls must be very large flock?

BillB

Fortunately there was no fire. Full fuel tanks held up, thankfully.