Russia: “Panic Ensues as Pilot Mistakenly Lands Plane on Frozen River in Russia, Prompting Evacuation of Passengers”

Russia: “Panic Ensues as Pilot Mistakenly Lands Plane on Frozen River in Russia, Prompting Evacuation of Passengers”

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

Passengers experienced a moment of panic when a 52-year-old Antonov-24 aircraft mistakenly landed on the frozen Kolyma River in Russia, instead of the intended landing strip on the riverbank. The incident occurred in Zyryanka, a remote area 70 miles below the Arctic Circle, with a population of less than 4,000 people. The plane had flown from Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, in temperatures as low as minus 41°C.

The pilot, in error, identified the frozen river as a small landing strip, leading to a precarious situation for the 30 passengers and four crew members on board. Despite the challenging circumstances, all individuals were safely evacuated on foot from the Polar Airlines.

The Kolyma River, located in northeastern Siberia, has historical significance as it was once used to transport prisoners to forced labor camps during the Soviet Union’s era, particularly under Joseph Stalin. The ice on the river, where the plane came to a halt, is approximately 2ft 7 inches thick, but pictures revealed a noticeable long crack near the aircraft.

The incident unfolded as the plane deviated from the intended runway during landing, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency. The East Siberian Transport Prosecutor’s Office attributed the mishap to a crew error in piloting the aircraft. An investigation has been launched to determine the exact causes of the incident.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, no casualties were reported, and the plane, though abandoned on the Kolyma River ice, sustained no significant damage. The aircraft did not proceed to its scheduled destination of Srednekolymsk, prompting concerns and investigations into the circumstances surrounding the unexpected landing on the frozen river.

This unusual event, labeled as a “serious incident” by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, underscores the importance of thorough investigations and safety measures in aviation to prevent such errors in the future.

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