An airport runway in eastern Russia got a shower of gold on Thursday. A cargo plane carrying several tons of gold bars suffered a hatch malfunction during takeoff, which caused the plane to spill precious metals all over the runway, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
The plane was carrying nine tons of gold and lost about a third of its cargo due to the accident. A “strong flow of air” during takeoff caused the An-12 transport aircraft’s cargo hatch to pop off, resulting in the spill. It was taking off from the Siberian city of Yakutsk, meaning authorities had to brave the cold weather to get back the gold.
The story was bizarre enough to generate its own Twitter moment. One Russian account tweeted an image of a broken off piece of the aircraft lying in the snow.
При взлете из Якутска у самолета Ан-12 сорвало створку грузового люка pic.twitter.com/bTF1EwvkM5
— ☀️ LEТ0…☀️ (@lET0__) March 15, 2018
Meanwhile, the Siberian Times captured several images of the plane, the damage that was done to it and the gold bars splayed out around the runway. The Times said the plane’s load was worth 21 billion rubles, or around $368 million.
It's -21C in Yakutia, sunny, we expect showers of diamond, platinum and gold… Plane loses its $368 million cargo; gems and precious metals rain over Russia’s coldest region as police and secret services stage emergency search https://t.co/NsUeOWxZf5 pic.twitter.com/8OXd6Al9is
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) March 15, 2018
The gold was carried by an An-12, a Soviet transport craft that is still in service in various parts of the world. TASS reported that there was a minor gold rush among the locals, but apparently, all of the gold was safely recovered.