Plane loses 3 tonnes of gold during take-off

A spokesperson for the company who owned the cargo told local media none was missing.

The Antonov plane, which stopped to refuel at the Yakutsk airport, was reportedly carrying 9.3 tons of precious metals when it took off.

Yakutsk Airport insists that the plane was operational and was ready for the flight.

At today's prices, a 20 kg pure gold bar would be worth about $8.5 million.

Photos circulating on social media appear to show gold bars wrapped in material scattered on the runway at Yakutsk Airport, in the country's major diamond-producing region.

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However, the Nimbus Airlines AN-12 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing in Magan after it began haemorrhaging valuables. No one was injured by the flying gold. The runway has been sealed and the police and secret service are conducting a vast search operation.

The cargo hatch came off the aircraft during takeoff.

Authorities recovered 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tons, the state-run TASS news agency quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying. A spokesman for Canada-based mining company Kinross Gold, which operates the mine, said that "all the cargo has been picked up, there are no losses".

Yakutsk region in Russian Federation, apart from being one of the coldest, is also a major diamond producing region.

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