In a scene that must have made onlookers think an angel hit the jackpot on a heavenly slot, gold and silver bars rained from the sky in Russia. The incident occurred in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, 5000 miles from Moscow last month.
According to reports, one of the doors of a cargo plane burst open shortly after take-off, sending 3.4 tons of an alloy composed of silver and gold, known as doré, plummeting onto the runway. The remainder of the more than 9 tons of the stuff, worth approximately US$156 million, remained in the hold of the Antonov AN-12, built during the Soviet era.
The country’s Investigative Committee claimed 172 bars were recovered on the runway, which had to be cordoned off from locals hoping for a share of the treasure. Authorities also threatened to prosecute anyone found in possession of the precious metal bars. Unperturbed by either barriers or threats, some determined visitors to the scene returned to the fields around the airport, just in case a bar or two had been overlooked.
Where the Gold Came From
The doré bars that fell from the Russian plane came from the Kupol gold mine, located in the Chukotka region. The mine is operated by Kinross Gold, a mining company based in Canada, which claimed that all the bars that tumbled out had been accounted for.
It appears that the plane’s cargo was destabilised during take-off, or had simply not been stabilised properly. As the plane gained height, the cargo shifted and damaged the plane’s lower hatch. It was not long before the door sprang open, and the loose bars fell out. The plane had no choice but to return to the airport.
For those thinking this could be a viable way to win big, gold bars do not fall out of the sky every day, so waiting for that to happen is a waste of time. A more viable option is to play at online casinos, where falling slots symbols can pay out real money jackpots instead!
Things That Fell From Planes
Bars of a gold and silver alloy are not the only strange things to have dropped out of the sky, courtesy of a passing plane – and most of them have been far less pleasant.
In 2008, Canadian Marian Liknes was speaking on the telephone in her bedroom when something came crashing through the roof. That something was frozen poo from an airplane toilet, shards of which hit Liknes, smashed drywall, and landed on her bed.
According to Transportation Safety Board authorities, the chunk of ice indeed fell from a passing plane, and contained not only toilet water, but human waste, disinfectant, anti-freeze, and other unpleasantries.
In 2012, the London suburb of Mortlake was the scene of something far more gruesome falling from the sky. The body of a man was found on a sidewalk, and while the police initially suspected foul play, an autopsy revealed the unidentified man was killed by the kind of impact caused by falling from a great height.
While no identification papers had been found on the body, police did find Angolan money. This led them to suspect that the man had stowed away in the plane’s landing gear in the African country, in the hope of making his way to London.
The police first thought that the man might have fallen out of the landing gear hold when it opened to prepare for landing. However, the Civil Aviation Authority suggested the man died before the landing gear was released; that he had either frozen to death as the hold is not insulated, and temperatures can plummet as low as -40 degrees Celsius, or that he was crushed when the landing gear was retracted during take-off.
It seems like good and bad things can fall from the sky, but fortunately – or unfortunately- this doesn’t happen too often!