The hero pilot who safely crash-landed a Russian airliner climbed back into the burning wreckage to call his wife.
Damir Yusupov, 41, was hailed a hero by both the media and the Kremlin after a safely landing an A321 so smoothly on Thursday that just one of the 233 people on board was hospitalized.
Shortly afterwards he told the Russian media: "After the evacuation of passengers I got out, went around the plane, examined the external damage, made sure that everything was at a safe distance.
"I returned to the cockpit and from there called my wife,” he said, according to The Sun.
Yusupov said when one of the plane's engines shut down due to a bird strike he initially hoped to circle Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport and land normally.
He decided to perform the emergency landing moments later when the second engine cut off, leaving him no choice.
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Yusupov's feat on Thursday drew comparisons to the 2009 "miracle on the Hudson," when Capt. Chesley Sullenberger safely ditched his plane in New York's Hudson River after a bird strike disabled its engines.
Yusupov told reporters on Friday he "saw a corn field ahead and hoped to make a reasonably soft landing."
State television said the incident was being dubbed the "miracle over Ramensk", the name of the district near Moscow where the plane came down around one kilometre (0.62 miles) from Zhukovsky International Airport.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid praised pilot Damir Yusupov as a "hero," saying he had saved 233 lives, "having masterfully landed a plane without its landing gear with a failing engine right in a corn field."
"We congratulate the hero pilots who saved people's lives," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that the Kremlin would see that the men were quickly given state honours.
"There's no doubt about this. They will be given awards."