A “gold rush” started among residents in eastern Siberia after dozens of gold bars fell out of a cargo plane as it was taking off, according to Russian media.
It happened at the Yakutsk airport in eastern Siberia on Thursday, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency. The An-12 cargo plane was carrying some 9 tons of gold, the agency reported.
But then the “cargo hatch was partially torn off by a strong flow of air during takeoff,” the agency reported. It added that the airport suggested that “technicians who were preparing the plane for takeoff could have failed to properly fix the gold cargo.”
A local transport police spokesman told TASS that a “total of 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tonnes [3.75 tons] have been found so far,” and a police official told the agency that all have been found.
The Siberian Times, however, said the plane dropped gold bars “as far as 26 kilometers from the airport,” and search efforts are still underway. Security officials have sealed off the runway. You can see it scattered with treasure in this video from the Times:
The plane was also carrying diamonds and platinum, according to the local newspaper, and was coming from the area of Russia known for diamond mining. It estimates the dropped cargo’s value at $368 million.