суббота, 17 января 2009 г.

Pilot saves lives by landing on a river… in 1963

A truly miraculous landing on a river in the centre of a big city saved dozens of lives, and the pilot was hailed a hero. It happened 45 years ago in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

On August 21 a strange picture shocked the people of USSR’s second biggest city: a passenger liner being tugged by a small boat along the river Neva. Passersby first thought some movie-studio was filming a scene, but then noticed the broken hull of the plane.

The Russian-made Tupolev-124 aircraft, then a new model, was flying from the Estonian capital of Tallinn to Moscow via Leningrad. After takeoff a bolt fell off the plane’s chassis (it was later found on the runway). During the flight assistant pilots tried to hammer the trigged chassis and even cut the bottom of the plane from the inside to do so, but it didn’t help. The plane was destined to find a harsh landing on a field outside the Leningrad airport.

Click to enlarge.

The crew, headed by Viktor Mostovoy, was given an instruction to fly around the city to burn excessive fuel. Then flights at 400 meters above a populated area were allowed, and the plane circled the sky over the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul fortress, and the historical churches and palaces. The fuel sensor, unfortunately, was broken, and as the crew realized there was not enough fuel to take the plane outside of the city, both engines died just above the Smolny palace in downtown Leningrad. One of the pilots was sent to the passengers ‘to distract them with conversation’, while others tried to glide the plane down to the river.

The plane slid over a new bridge being built at that time – just 4 meters above it, and horrified workers jumped from the scaffolding straight into the river. The plane’s tail touched the water, and the entire body smoothly flopped onto the water surface... just a hundred yards away from the other bridge.

It was sheer luck that a tug boat (an old steamer built in 1898) was in close vicinity to the place of emergency landing. The hull of the plane was damaged and started to fill with water. The crew of the boat were sure it was some new trick by Soviet scientists testing a new hydroplane, but the captain was experienced enough to see the aircraft was in dire straits. He ordered the cargo float to be unhooked, broke the plane’s windshield and tied the hawser to the control wheel of the Tupolev.

The boat safely ‘docked’ near an embankment. The 44 passengers on board including 2 children left the plane through an access port on the roof of the plane, while their luggage was unloaded and neatly piled onto the asphalt. No signs of panic were seen, passersby and passengers met the crew with a loud applause. In a few minutes a bus picked up the travelers and their belongings and took them to the airport.

The heroic landing was hailed as a miracle in the press, and word of mouth carried the news of the amazing rescue effort across the country. The authorities had no choice but to award the crew captain Mostovoy with an order, though it was obvious to the professionals that his mistakes caused the incident. The captain of the tug-boat was given a certificate of merit and awarded a watch – a typical gift of that time to show the recognition of courage and gratitude of the state.

The plane was considered nonrecoverable and sawn into parts. The pilot cabin was sent to an aviation school as a cock-pit mock-up, the chairs were sold to anyone wishing to buy them, the rest taken to a scrap metal shop.

Source:Russia Today

8 комментариев:

fucoid комментирует...

it is a heroic story.


i know you are historian and i am very interested in holodomor. but i only know it from a ukrainian perspective. i have written some about it. but i want to know the russian version.

it is a very delicate subject, i know.

but is it possible to communicate with you about his privately? or maybe you know of an article in english that expresses your point of view.

here is my email: jon_tbbtts@yahoo.com

i understand if it is too sensitive or i am out of bounds.



lastochka комментирует...

It's Ok)
Here is the link-
I had already published this amterial in my blog.
I'm a historian- (my specialization is chinese history))).Nevertheless I'm interested a lot in history of other countries also.)

fucoid комментирует...

Большое спасибо :)

Chernevog комментирует...

Interesting, considering the recent occurance in New York. Nothing new under the sun. It is a testement to the training and courage of the pilots in any case.

I stumbled upon this blog accidentally, while doing a google search on the Rusyn people in the Ukraine, as well as while researching some of the discussion about Holomodor.

It has become one of my favorite blogs.

My thanks and appreciation to the moderators.

fucoid комментирует...

i am sorry but the info in link you sent me is very inconsistent with recorded history. is this the accepted academic version of events in russia or is it just from the popular media?

please answer to my email and not my blog, thank you.


truly, i thank you for your sincerity.


Chernevog комментирует...

An amusing response to your request for the Russian historical account of Holomodor. The link the author gave you is fairly consistant with the Russian historical interpretation of the events of Holomodor.

What you have called the "accepted academic version" of the events is neither universally accepted, or even academic.

The most obvious place to look for the history of the events is in both the Ukraine and in Russia, in the historical and government archives.

Recent studies of Holomodor since the opening of the Russian Archives to western scholars has resulted in another series of arguments as to the causes of those events.

Most versions of the events as reported in the west at the time leave a lot to be desired, as they were largely reported in the western press, first out of London, with reprints in the American press following. Often times, there was really no local information upon which to base reports in the western press.

By the 1950's, with the cold war in full bloom, most of the historical accounts came from people who had escaped from the Soviet Union during the confusion of the end of World War II, and again, these reports were largely products of the cold war.

Any decent historian will tell you that any description of any event that occured between the western world and the Soviet world between 1917 and the fall of communism has three versions. The Western version, the Soviet version, and what actually happened.

An honest historian shoots for the last one, and sometimes hits the mark, because the more time passes, the less accuracy there is in figuring out what occured.

Various scholars, using the data that has become available during the last 30 years have come to very, very different opinions about the events surrounding Holomodor, primarily because so much was politicized during the cold war. The number of casualties has been significantly downsized by some scholars. The responses to the event,by both the local and national governments, have been more available for study.

The idea that either a particular class was targeted, or a particular ethnicity, is pretty much the result of a more or less politicized version of history. It still is being used as a politicized version of history when it is convenient to do so.

The most accurate records are going to be those coming out of the region itself. The Russian Archives have been open for quite some time now, at least 20 years, but the Ukrainian archives have not been completely opened for western scholars to study yet, largely for political reasons.

That is to say, some people still alive might be embarassed by what is in those records, so they remain closed.

One thing is certain. The history as recorded in the western world can be considered rather inaccurate, because given the nature of the world during the time this event occured, there were few, if any, westerners present to report the events first hand.

With respect to Holomodor, the best objective position a historian or someone who wishes to be faithful to historical method can be is to throw out anything that was written between the time of the event, and 1989, more likely 1991. Almost everything written between these dates can be assumed to be heavily politicized and largely written to serve political ends on both sides of the political spectrum.

The author graciously responded to your request. As a historian, they gave you what you asked for. The Russian historical position on Holomodor.

To put it more simply. It all depends on whose "accepted academic" position you have chosen to academically accept.

If you are looking to find out the real history, you will look at the data in detail, and like any good historical detective, you will weed out the politically expedient positions, and look for what is the most likely to have occured.

fucoid комментирует...


academia and "history" are not only recorded by those in power. obviously history is "written" by institutions with ideological motivations.

i am a cultural anthropologist and have been living in villages effected by the tragedy in various regions of Ukraine and Russia. i have been looking at current linguistic analysis, archaeology and personal interviews with people who had no voice at the time of the event. this is part of the academic record today, as it is evolving. this is how more objective histories are obtained, not by inferring what may or may not be written in declassified documents.

glad i could amuse you while looking for info on such a horrible event.

i appreciate very much the author's openness and her point of view (as there is much truth in it).

with all due respect, mind your own business.

Chernevog комментирует...

It seems you are prepared to fight the cold war all over again.

There is no one general consistant academic position on the causes of Holomodor.

There are three academic positions

The first is that there was no famine at all. This argument is taken by both sides. One that it never occured, the other, that the food shortage was artificially created by the central government.

The next is that this was a planned genocide or designed to eliminate a particular "class" in the agrarian community.

The last is that there was a famine, and it was not planned, because you can't plan a natutal phenomenon. These weather patterns were well known and occured every 10 to 14 years, like clockwork.

The previous one was during the Russian Civil War, the one before that coincided with the mass emigrations from the Russian Empire to Europe or North America.

The standard pre-fall of communism work by Robert Conquest has recently been called into question by more recent examinations of the archives as well as immigration interviews in the late 1940's and into the 1950's of Ukrainians coming to the United States and Canada. When asked about the famine, a significant portion of these Ukrainian immigrants responded "What famine?"

Also letters from Conquest, later in life, offered a retraction of his original thesis that Holomodor was a "genocide.

The last "academic' position is that the famine was not man made, but that the response to it was simply inept. This has been given more credence over the last decade than the other two positions.

Current agrarian demographic analysis done in nuimber of nations has simply determined that the statistical distribution of the famine's victims was directly proportional to the demographic distribution of the entire population of the Ukraine.

Every class and ethnicity in the rural areas appear to have been in exactly the same way.

That is to say, rural Russians living in effected regions were effected to the exact same degree as their Ukrainian neighbors.

I also have a history degree, like the author on this blog, it is in Chinese history (modern), and while Holomodor was a tragedy, it was by and large not the worse famine of the 20th century by far. In this regard, the Chinese famine of the late 1950's was by and large far worse and can be attributed to the same sort of poor planning.

The most accepted academic position being taken today is that any analysis that asserts that there the grain harvests of 1932-33were not extraordinarily low, and that the famine was a political measure imposed by excessive procurements of grain by the central government is clearly based on insufficient sources and relies on an uncritical approach to the source data.