Russian plane with mystery ‘radioactive cargo’ forced to make terrifying emergency landing with 109 passengers on board

Russian plane with mystery ‘radioactive cargo’ forced to make terrifying emergency landing with 109 passengers on board

A PLANE carrying a mysterious “radioactive cargo” was forced to make an emergency landing in Russia.

The UTAir Boeing-737 was packed with 109 passengers when some 40 minutes after take-off it was forced back to the ground.

The radioactive material was being carried on a civilian airliner run by UTair

The plane was forced to return to Vnukovo airport in Moscow

Pilots had to desperately make the terrifying landing at “increased speed” after a fault with the airliner’s wing flaps.

It plunged down from 4,000ft after declaring a mid-air emergency and returned to Vnukovo airport in Moscow.

But unbeknownst to the passengers – the plane was also carrying some 19kg of radioactive material.

It was shipping the potentially deadly cargo to Khanty-Mansiysk in western Siberia.

Russian media reported the “dangerous cargo” was not damaged during the unscheduled and sudden descent by the plane.

The radioactive material had been given special permission to be transported on the flight by the Kremlin.

Khanty-Mansiysk is the capital of the Khanty-Mansi region – which during the 1980s hosted underground Soviet nuclear tests.

The Russians detonated a 2.5kt nuclear device in an underground shaft some four-hour drive from the city in 1985.

It is the latest in a spate of terrifying plane emergencies – more than one a day this month – in Russia. 

In a separate incident today, a military An-12 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing with eight crew members at Khurba airport in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

The reason for the emergency was unclear. 

Earlier, a Superjet SSJ-100 aircraft with 106 on board was forced to return to its departure airport in Yakutsk – the world’s coldest city – after its landing gear failed to retract.

A plane with 111 people on board suffered sudden depressurisation with oxygen masks released before the Airbus A319 plunged ahead of emergency landing. 

Children screamed and passengers uttered prayers as the crew lost height to cope with the emergency after taking off from thermal resort Mineralnye Vody.

Masks were released on the state-owned Rossiya airline aircraft which was bound for St Petersburg. 

“We started to drop sharply,” said a passenger.

“Everyone’s masks dropped down over their heads.”

A man on board said: “Children were screaming, women were praying, everyone was stressed.”

A day earlier “micro-explosions” led to fires in both engines of a Boeing 737, resulting in an emergency landing. 

The S7 airline plane with 175 passengers  was flying from Novosibirsk – Russia’s third largest city – to capital city  Moscow.

A Tu-204 cargo aircraft suffered an engine “explosion” heard from the ground after takeoff from Ulan-Ude, also in Siberia.

Footage showed the aircraft ablaze as it jettisoned fuel and made an emergency landing.

Russia is suffering an unprecedented spate of air incidents amid signs that Western sanctions are hampering the servicing and maintenance of  planes, with problems obtaining spare parts.

Since the spring of 2022, airlines have been requiring staff not to enter equipment defects in flight log books, said one report.

A former Nordwind airline pilot said many  pilots are now  relying on “Russian luck.”

In the first eight months of this year, there were 120 air accidents in Russia involving civil aircraft operated by Russian airlines.

This is more than double the number in recent years despite significantly fewer flights as a result of Putin’s war against Ukraine.

Last week, a Russian cargo plane’s engine exploded forcing the aircraft to land

And then days later a passenger airliner suffered ‘micro explosions’ in its engines

Over the weekend a Russian airliner suddenly depressurised after take-off as passengers screamed in horror

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