Several employees at a Western Siberian airport have been fired following an incident that saw passengers being asked to push their own plane down a runway in temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius — presumably to discourage staff from pulling a similar stunt.
More than 70 people aboard a regionally operated flight to Krasnodar from Igarka — a town in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region more than 100 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle — were asked to disembark in order to help prepare the plane for takeoff in November last year.
Word of the incident quickly made the rounds in the international media, with footage of the passengers pushing the plane in icy conditions gathering hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Neither the airport's air safety inspector, the ground technician, nor the on-duty traffic controller raised any objections to the passengers pushing the plane, despite the fact that this contravened air safety laws, the Interfax news agency cited Oksana Gorbunova, an assistant to the Western Siberian prosecutor, as saying Friday.
As a result all three employees involved in the incident have lost their jobs, Gorbunova said, adding that both the airport itself and the air steward on duty at the time will face disciplinary action.
The aviation safety inspector and the steward have also been fined 1,500 rubles ($21) for violating air safety requirements, Gorbunova was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Despite the drama, the plane involved in the incident eventually took off without any problems and arrived at its destination in Krasnodar two hours later, having incurred only a slight delay.