Nov 26, 2014 6:44 AM

Passengers in Russia's Arctic give airliner a push

The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) In other countries, you may be asked to give a push to a car stuck in the mud. In Russia, passengers in the Arctic came out of an airliner to the bitter cold to help it move to the runway.

A Russian-made Tu-134 with 74 oil workers and seven crew members onboard was due to fly from the town of Igarka on Tuesday to Krasnoyarsk 800 miles (nearly 1,300 kilometers) to the south when the plane couldn't move onto the runway. It was -52 C (-61 F) outside and the passengers seemed desperate to get home.

The plane belonged to a regional division of the major Russia airline UTair, which said ice on the runway surface caused the plane's pushback tractor to begin slipping, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti.

Eager to help, several dozen men were seen in an amateur video pushing the plane by leaning on both wings. However, the video also showed a tow bar attached to the front landing-gear, suggesting the tractor was doing much of the work.

"The plane was towed, of course, because it would be physically impossible for people (to move it)," Oksana Gorbunova, an aide to the regional transportation prosecutor, was quoted as saying by the state news agency Tass.

"Most likely, the passengers of the plane decided to make some kind of selfie," airport director Maxim Aksenov was quoted as saying by Tass.

Russian authorities, however, weren't amused by the incident, and prosecutors launched an investigation into a possible breach of safety regulations.

"It would be funny if it didn't pose a horrendous threat. People could have damaged the aircraft skin and the flaps," said Gorbunova.

Gorbunova said the passengers were asked to leave the plane when it got stuck. When a tractor began towing the airliner, some of the passengers left a bus and tried to help move it.


(A previous version of this story misspelled Igarka.)


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