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OFF BEAT: Russian passengers have air travel risks down cold


Air travel risks are well known and varied, but a group of Russian passengers experienced a new twist when they ended up pushing their airliner to the runway.

The plane was trying to depart the frigid outpost of Igarka in north central Russia with 74 oil workers and seven crew members when its pushback tractor began slipping on ice after the plane’s wheels froze to the ground in the minus 61-degree conditions, according to media reports.

Tripadvisor.com cites remote Igarka’s No. 1 (and only) attraction as the Igarka Museum of Eternal Frost. The town is 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

With passengers eager to get on with their trip 800 miles south to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, several were shown in an amateur video pushing on the plane’s wings to move it into place, but a tow bar shown on the landing gear belies how much the eager passengers may have helped.

“The plane was towed, of course, because it would be physically impossible for people (to move it),” Oksana Gorbunova, an aide to the regional transportation prosecutor, was quoted as saying by the state news agency Tass.

“Most likely, the passengers of the plane decided to make some kind of selfie,” airport director Maxim Aksenov was quoted as saying by Tass.

Russian authorities reportedly are investigating for safety protocol violations, but no information was available on whether the passengers were offered free drink coupons for their inconvenience.