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Pilots who made crash landing in taiga decorated as Heroes of Russia

Oct 8, 2010 19:27 Moscow Time
Photo: RIA Novosti
Photo: RIA Novosti
President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree to give the Hero of Russia Stars to Andrei Lamanov and Evgeny Novoselov the pilots of the Tu-154 passenger plane who managed to make an emergency landing in the taiga and saved lives of dozens of people. Other crew members were decorated with the orders for Courage.

"For their courage, heroism and for exercising their professional duties in extreme conditions pilots Adnrei Lomanov and Evgeny Novoselov receive the Orders of the Hero of Russia", the decree read.

In early September the crew of the Tu-154 passenger plane did the what seemed the impossible - they landed the plane in low visibility with failed navigation equipment and almost by touch. The equipment failed at the height of 10,000 meters and communication with the ground was lost. Any maneuvering and gliding down were excluded.

But sometimes miracles happen - this is how the story was presented in the newspapers. The pilots say that three hours after the take-off the autopilot, the navigation system and the electronic equipment failed. They could not contacts the ground control and inform them about the critical situation.  Soon after it became clear that there was enough fuel left for only half an hour. Those 30 minutes were crucial for the further fate of 72 passengers and 9 crew members on board. The crew lowered their altitude looked for a landing site by feel. Eventually a landing site on a deserted air field in the taiga forest was found. However this field was not long enough so the plane rolled into the forest for several hundred more meters before it came to a stop.  No one was hurt.

According to test pilot and Hero of Russia Magomed Tolboyev the crew of the Tu-154 plane showed their best professional skills as well as courage and a strong will:

"What they did is a deed of heroism and courage. They deserve the orders they are given. I highly appreciate their professionalism and the behavior in a very difficult situation.  And of course there is the will of Heaven. The guys were given an opportunity to see a site suitable for landing and they did their best to save the people's lives. And no one was hurt. Thanks to the crew."

President Dmitry Medvedev stressed that most such situations end tragically.  It was the plane's passengers who made the proposal to decorate the crew. The passengers think that thanks to their professionalism they were re-born.  As we see their move was upheld by the president. 

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