Not all heroes wear capes, but some of them do fly. Well, sort of. That’s because this real-life hero works as a pilot for the Russian-based Ural Airlines. Captain Damir Yusupov made news this week when he managed to pull off a fantastic feat successfully avoiding disaster in a rather frightening flight situation.
According to a report from People magazine, Capt. Yusupov was piloting Ural Airlines’ flight 178 which left from the Zhukovsky Airport in Moscow on the way to Simferopol, Crimea. The destination is a popular vacation spot for Russians and the flight was carrying a reported 226 passengers. But what was supposed to be a relatively short three-hour flight took a dark turn.
Soon, passengers and the seven crew members aboard the plane began to smell something burning as the aircraft made noises and started shaking. As was reported by the Russian air transport agency Rosaviatsia, the plane apparently collided with a flock of seagulls during take off. This resulted in two of the birds being stuck to the plane’s engines which caused them to stop working.
Capt. Yusupov initially contemplated turning the plane around to land back safely on the airport’s runway. But it was too late for that. He ended up making an emergency landing on a field just less than a mile away with both of the aircraft’s engines having no power.
Thanks to Capt. Yusupov, none of the 200 plus passengers on board the plane perished in the otherwise deadly situation. However, some of the passengers still ended at the hospital for minor injuries. The Russian health ministry lists 23 people, nine of whom are reportedly children. Meanwhile, a 69-year-old woman was also in the hospital for a non-life threatening condition.
Since the incident, photos of the plane and the skid marks it left on the cornfield it landed on have begun spreading on social media sites. The source of the flock of seagulls which caused the bird strike has also been identified. Apparently, they were living in an illegal garbage dump just two kilometers from the airport.
Award for Heroism
Now, the heroic pilot and his co-pilot Georgy Murzin are reportedly going to be given an award by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The said recognition is the Hero of Russia, which is the highest one the state can give. Another five members of the plane’s crew will also receive a top state award, the Order of Courage.
Despite the recognition, Capt. Yusupov insists that he isn’t a hero and said that he only did what he had to do. According to him, saving the plane and its passengers was his only decision at the time.