YAKUTSK, Russia – A fortune in gold and other precious metals fell from the sky as a plane took off from Yakutsk, Russia Thursday, according to local reports.
Officials believe the latch on a plane door carrying at least 9 tons of pricey cargo gave way, allowing some of the gold to tumble out of the An-12 aircraft over one of Russia’s coldest areas, according to the Tass news agency. Roughly 3.4 tons were found scattered across the tarmac, Tass quotes Ministry of Internal Affairs officials saying.
Valued at $368 million, the Nimbus Airlines plane was carrying gold, gems and precious metals and was headed to Krasnoyarsk, according to The Siberian Times. The owner of the treasure is believed to be Chukotka Mining and Geological company, a private company 75-percent owned by Canadian Kinross Gold, according to the paper.
The plane and its crew managed to land safely in a city roughly seven miles away, and airport authorities secured the runway to collect the valuable cargo.
Authorities have reportedly detained the workers in charge of preparing the flight for takeoff.
Yakutsk is one of the country’s main diamond producing regions and is also known for its brutal cold. Temperatures are expected to fall to –26 degrees Fahrenheit overnight into Friday.