Temperatures of minus 50 Celsius cause aircraft's landing gear to freeze
Videos show passengers rallying to push the Tupolev plane into position
Aircraft reportedly completed its journey without further problems
Yes, this really happened! A bunch of passengers left their seats to give their frozen plane a push at a snowbound airport in Siberia.
That was the situation at Igarka Airport earlier this week where temperatures of minus 50 Celsius left a Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft stranded on the runway.
Passengers rallied to the rescue when oil in the plane’s landing gear iced up, according to UTair, the airline whose livery the plane carries.
According to the Komsomolskaya Pravda website, there were cries of “Let’s go!” as two rows of passengers, dressed in heavy coats and thick gloves, each took a wing and apparently began shoving the aircraft into position.
“We all want to get home,” one of the burly volunteers was quoted as saying.
Video and images circulated on social media show the passengers succeeding in their mission, despite biting winds and freezing temperatures.
Komsomolskaya Pravda said Russian officials were investigating whether any aviation safety regulations had been breached by the unorthodox take off.
UTair said the aircraft was operated by a subsidiary, Katekavia, and that the parking maneuvers of aircraft and departure conditions were the responsibility of airport ground services.
“The problems at departure were caused by weather conditions, in particular, extremely low air temperature which is typical for this part of Krasnoyarsk region and sometimes gets as low as minus 50 Celsius,” an UTair spokesperson told CNN.
“While the aircraft was parked at Igarka airport, its landing gear froze on to the aerodrome surface. In order to quickly resolve this issue the passengers assisted the tow truck to move the aircraft.”
The plane and passengers were reportedly able to take off and landed safely several hours later in Krasnoyarsk, to the south of Igarka.
Thankfully there was no need for further pushing as the temperature at their destination was a balmy minus 11 Celsius.