$370 Million In Gold & Diamonds Falls From Cargo Plane, Litters Airfield

Do you ever see a story where you’re like “there’s no way in hell this is real?” This is definitely one of those stories. It’s also my kind of “golden shower!”

A Nimbus Airlines AN-12 cargo plane was starting the 1,400 mile flight from Yakutsk to Krasnoyarsk in Russia, carrying nine tons worth of precious metals, including gold, platinum, and diamonds, worth up to 400 million USD. The cargo belonged to Chukota Mining and Geological company.

The plane had issues during takeoff, and one of the back left hatches opened, causing the precious cargo to fall all over the runway. Given how many valuables were on the plane, they didn’t only fall on the runway, but some were found as far as 15 miles from the airport. The plane ended up diverting to Magan Airport, just a few miles from where the plane took off.

The police sealed off the runway, and only special secret services operatives are allowed to recover the precious metals, given the value we’re talking about here. Furthermore, those who loaded the plane are being interrogated, as police aren’t yet sure if this was a deliberate act or a mistake.

I’m inclined to think this had to be deliberate. I’m not sure if transporting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of precious metal on flights is common in Russia, but I would have assumed that it would be extra high security, and that they’d have special agents ensuring that everything went smoothly. That’s why I think that this had to be an inside job on some level. Even if someone were to recover only a tiny fraction of the cargo, we’re still talking about something that’s potentially worth millions of dollars.

Comments

  1. I don’t think the door malfunctioned, I think the cargo was not properly secured. If a gold bar goes flying, it would punch right through the skin of most airplanes. A door will not stop it.

  2. That’s what they get for having some kind of Scrooge McDuck pile of loot on the floor of the plane. I can see the security people swimming around in it until the hatch opened and started spewing the loot everywhere.

  3. but I would have assumed that it would be extra high security,

    Maybe but maybe not. They often find it’s safer just to send it through the system like anything else so it won’t draw unwanted attention. When the 3,106.75 carat Cullian diamond was sent to London they sent it registered mail. A dummy diamond was sent with with all the guards and hoopla.

    Due to its immense value, detectives were assigned to a steamboat that was rumoured to be carrying the stone, and a parcel was ceremoniously locked in the captain’s safe and guarded on the entire journey. It was a diversionary tactic – the stone on that ship was fake, meant to attract those who would be interested in stealing it. Cullinan was sent to the United Kingdom in a plain box via registered post.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cullinan_Diamond

  4. Oh and Lucky, you’ll like this story.

    a Qatari man arrived in the V.I.P. terminal on an evening flight from his country’s capital city, Doha. After identifying himself as a senior government envoy, he announced that he and his 14 colleagues, all dressed in crisp white ankle-length tunics called thobes, did not want their luggage inspected. The Qataris had brought 23 identical black duffels, a small peninsula of black nylon that covered a sizable portion of the lounge’s hardwood floor. Each bag was so heavy — well over 100 pounds — that the porters had trouble rolling them into the room.

    The contents? $360 million in cash weighing 2,500 pounds. The story gets way better from there.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/magazine/how-a-ransom-for-royal-falconers-reshaped-the-middle-east.html

  5. Reminds me of the 747 cargo plane crash just seconds after take off at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan which was cause by improperly loaded cargo (armoured vehicles) shifting. Luckily there were no deaths this time around.

    There’s also the DB Cooper case…..

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