Russian freighter spills gold bars on take off
A RUSSIAN freighter spilled a cargo of gold bars said to be worth more than $378million when the treasure trove burst through the cargo door of an Antonov aircraft during take off from Yakutia, Siberia.
The precious shipments – which also included platinum and diamonds – lay scattered along the Siberian runway. Reports from the region say that more items rained down as the aircraft gained height.
The Nimbus Airlines AN-12 cargo plane, which was bound for Krasnoyarsk in Russia’s Far East region, hit problems during take-off as the treasures fell out of the hold and scattered, bouncing along the runway, reports claim.
The aircraft then disgorged further bars of gold some kilometres from the airport.
Authorities have since recovered 172 gold ingots weighing 3.4 tonnes, Russian Interior Ministry officials were later reported as saying.
No-one was hurt in the incident. Images circulating on social media show gold bars scattered across the airport’s runway.
Gold bars, diamonds and platinum strewn across a part of Siberia
The crew decided to make an emergency landing at the nearby airport of Magan, some 26 kilometres north-west of Yakutsk. Yakutsk is the capital of Yakutia, or the Sasha Republic, Russia’s diamond producing region.
Reports state that at least nine tonnes of gold, diamonds and platinum had been loaded on board the aircraft. A large amount of the stash burst through the An-12’s rear loading door during take off from the airport, according to eyewitnesses.
It is claimed the cargo belongs to the Chukota Mining and Geological company, of which 75 per cent of shares belong to Canadian Kinross Gold.
The causes of the incident are being investigated, although it has been reported that damage to a door handle may have caused it to fly open and spill the cargo.
Police sealed off the runway and a vast search of the area is being undertaken.