Not quite gold standard, precious cargo falls out of plane in Russia

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Yakutsk Airport

An aircraft carrying millions of dollars worth of gold, platinum and diamonds lost part of its cargo after taking off from Yakutsk Airport in Russia.

The Nimbus Airlines Antonov AN-12 was flying from Yakutsk in the Sakha Republic in eastern Russia to Krasnoyarsk when the aircraft hit problems during take off as the cargo fell out of the hold and onto the runway.

The aircraft is reported to have dropped bars as far as 26 kilometres from the airport as it made its way to nearby Magan Airport for an emergency landing, according to local media reports, and the police sealed off the runway while a search got underway.

Local media report that technical engineers at the airport who prepared the aircraft for take off have been detained and the value of the load was 21 billion roubles.

In a statement on its website, Yakutsk Airport says: “On March 15, when taking off from the Yakutsk airport at the Nimbus cargo plane AN-12, the left flap of the cargo hatch was torn off by an airflow. The crew decided to return the aircraft to Yakutsk.”

“It should be noted that the aircraft were prepared for the flight by the technicians who are part of the crew of this vessel. After the aircraft was checked before they were checked out, they filled in a maintenance card for the operational maintenance of the aircraft. According to this document, the aircraft was serviceable and prepared for the flight.”