It was raining gold and diamonds last week in Russia. As the aircraft was taking off, Soviet-era plane’s door opened and over $156M worth cargo started to fall on the runway.
The plane was taking off after refueling from the Yakutsk airport in Siberia. The area is known for being one of the coldest ones in the world. Right after Antonov AN-12 departed, the door opened and cargo started falling on the runway. Even though the most of the cargo was lost when gaining an altitude, some of the pieces were found as far as 26 kilometers from the Yakutsk.
An aircraft landed at the closest airport in Magan. Later it returned to collect the lost goods. As one expects Yakutsk residents were willing to collect the treasure. However, authorities managed to control the situation and gather all the pieces quickly. Residents were warned by the official reports that anyone who finds a gold bar and fails to report can be prosecuted.
The treasure was taken from the mine which belongs to the Canadian company Kinross Gold. Their spokesperson for Russia Stanislav Borodyuk informed that “all the cargo has been picked up, there are no losses.”
AN-12 is a military aircraft which was commonly flown in the Soviet Union. It was used as a mixed option for both cargo and passengers.
In total aircraft lost 72 bars weighing around 3,4 tonnes. Despite the fact, everybody calls it gold, shiny pieces as we are used to imagining could not be found. What turned out later the cargo was doré, an alloy naturally made out of silver and gold. Nevertheless, it does not change the fact that the load was exceptionally expensive.
The cause of the incident is still unclear. However, there are a couple of versions. Russia’s Investigative Committee said in their report for the Telegraph “As it gathered height, the cargo door became damaged due to the shifting of cargo,” In other words, the cargo was not stabilized properly during the take-off.