Pilots who saved 233 lives in Airbus A321 disaster awarded ‘Hero of Russia’ medals

The pilots, who carried out a successful emergency landing in a cornfield, saving the lives of all the passengers, have been awarded with Russia’s highest state honor – the ‘Hero of Russia’ title. The crew received Orders of Courage.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to decorate the pilots and flight attendants from Russia’s Ural Airlines on Friday.

Putin praised the level of training in the company and expressed hope that such emergency situations will occur as rarely as possible in the future.

Those given the Hero of Russia titles are Captain Damir Yusupov, 41, and co-pilot Georgy Murzin, 23.

Airbus A321 departed from Zhukovsky Airport outside Moscow to Simferopol, Crimea early on Thursday. During takeoff, the jet, with 233 people aboard, ran into a flock of gulls, causing engine malfunction.

The pilots had to perform an emergency landing, successfully putting the jetliner down on its belly in a cornfield near the airport.

When the aircraft was back on the ground, the crew professionally executed their duties, organizing a swift and safe evacuation of the passengers.

Nobody died on the plane as a result of the miraculous landing – 76 people were given medical attention, but only one required hospitalization.