Russia: Passengers 'get out and push' frozen plane

The passengers pushing the plane Image copyright The Siberian Times/Ivan Ivanov
Image caption Homeward bound: Frozen brake pads were no match for these passengers

Passengers due to take a flight in Siberia had to get out and push the aircraft after its brake pads froze solid, it's reported.

The plane was trying to take off from the Russian town of Igarka, but was unable to move after the temperature fell to -52C, the RIA Novosti news agency reports. Passengers on board the flight, many of them shift workers, apparently offered to lend a hand, fearing that otherwise their journey home would be delayed, The Siberian Times reports. The Katekavia airline flight later took off and landed safely in the city of Krasnoyarsk. "According to the initial account, the air temperature dropped to -52C, and the braking system in the plane's landing gear froze in the parking position," Oxana Gorbunova, a senior aide at the Western Siberia state transport prosecutor's office, tells RIA Novosti. "The pushback tractor was unable to budge the aircraft onto the taxiway, and the passengers decided to help give it a push, which is not permitted, as this can damage the aircraft skin." Prosecutors are now checking whether the airport, the airline, the crew or the passengers broke any air safety laws.

Igarka lies 100 miles (160km) north of the Arctic Circle, so chilly winter temperatures are not unusual. But -52C is significantly colder than normal; the average low temperature is closer to -30C. Igarka's airport is a regional airline hub used by 100,000 passengers a year, many of them working in Russia's Arctic oil and gas fields.

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