Pilot hailed as hero as Russian passenger plane avoids tragedy in crash landing

Pilot hailed as hero as Russian passenger plane avoids tragedy in crash landing
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The pilot of a Russian passenger plane was hailed as a hero Thursday after avoiding tragedy when his jet collided with a flock of gulls and the engines malfunctioned, The Associated Press reported.

Damir Yusupov, 41, managed to land the plane in a cornfield, and while nearly two dozen people were injured, only one had to be hospitalized.

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The plane carrying 226 passengers and a crew of seven hit the birds as it was taking off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport en route to Simferopol in Crimea.

The successful landing quickly drew comparisons to the “Miracle on the Hudson,” when Sully Sullenberger landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009 after losing both engines after hitting a flock of birds.

Russia’s Rosaviatsiya state aviation agency chief Alexander Neradko said the crew “made the only right decision” to land the fully loaded plane immediately after both of the plane’s engines malfunctioned, per AP.

“The crew has shown courage and professionalism and deserve the highest state awards,” he reportedly added.

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOPEC meetings may provide economic answers — or just more questions Germany expels two Russian diplomats following slaying in Berlin Putin signs crackdown on foreign-sponsored journalists MORE’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, congratulated the pilots as “heroes” and said they will receive state awards.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also opened a session of Cabinet by praising the crew.