MOSCOW (AP) — Russian news reports say the hatch of a cargo plane carrying precious metals accidentally flew open upon takeoff — scattering at least 3 tons of gold on the runway.
An investigation is underway after the incident Thursday at the airport in the far east city of Yakutsk, according to the Tass news agency.
An An-12 plane operated by the airline Nimbus took off for Krasnoyarsk carrying 9.3 tons of gold and other precious metals, according to a statement from the state Investigative Committee quoted by Tass. Damage to a door handle caused it to fly open and spill some of the metal.
Authorities recovered 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tons, Tass quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying.
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
No one was hurt in the incident. Images circulating on social media showed gold bars scattered across a runway.