Passengers were gripped with fear after a pilot mistakenly landed their plane on cracking ice on a notorious Kolyma River in Russia, on Thursday.

Infinity Tyres

The 52-year-old Antonov-24 aircraft had flown from the world’s coldest city Yakutsk and had landed by error on the ice instead of a landing strip on the riverbank in a temperature of minus 41C.

According to Daily Mail, thirty passengers and four crew on board were safely evacuated on foot from the Polar Airlines.

The report disclosed that the undisclosed pilot mistook the frozen Kolyma River for a small landing strip at remote Zyryanka, some 70 miles below the Arctic Circle with a population of less than 4,000 people.

Kolyma River is a river in northeastern Siberia, far eastern Russia, rising in the Kolyma Mountains. It is 1,323 miles (2,129 km) long and drains an area of 250,000 square miles (647,000 square km)

The plane was left abandoned on the ice of the Kolyma River, used to transport prisoners to forced labour camps during the former premier of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin’s era.

The ice is believed to be 2ft 7 inches thick but pictures show an evident long crack near the plane.

Meanwhile, a media outlet Evening Yakutsk said, “There were no casualties,” adding that the aircraft was not moved despite suffering no significant damage.

It further disclosed that the plane did not fly onto Srednekolymsk as scheduled.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency described the river landing as a “serious incident.”

“During the landing, [the plane] deviated from the runway,” said the East Siberian Transport Prosecutor’s Office.

“According to preliminary information, the cause of the aviation event was a crew error in piloting the aircraft,” said the prosecutor’s office.

The report revealed that authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.