The Ural Airlines Airbus A321 was carrying 226 passengers and a crew of seven from Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport to Simferopol — a city on the Crimean Peninsula — when it ran into trouble.
Shortly after takeoff, the plane “collided with a flock of gulls,” according a statement from the agency.
Some of the birds were sucked into its engines, it added.
The emergency landing took place in a field less than a kilometer (0.62 miles) away from the airport’s runway.
Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported that the 41-year-old pilot, Damir Yusupov, has clocked up more than 3,000 flight hours, citing Ural Airlines’ press service.
Yusupov graduated with honors in 2013 from St. Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation and was hired by the company immediately after graduating, RIA-Novosti said.
Twenty-three people, including five children, have been hospitalized, Russian state news agency TASS reported.