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Brazil: Patriarch Kirill talks about 'dangerous accident' on Antarctica flight01:43

Brazil: Patriarch Kirill talks about 'dangerous accident' on Antarctica flight

Brazil, Sao Paulo
February 21, 2016 at 12:50 GMT -00:00 · Published

Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus' spoke to press in Sao Paulo on Sunday, describing the moment his plane's windshield smashed mid-flight on the way to Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic station on Waterloo Island on February 17.

"I was told at once that it was a very dangerous accident. The cockpit windshield glass literally shattered into small pieces, it was a duplex glass. And this first layer, which can withstand the greatest impact, it shattered into small pieces and the pilot said that it is very dangerous and we must immediately return to Punta Arenas," Patriarch Kirill said.

"I proposed to the pilot to fly at an altitude of three-four thousand meters, so that we were still alive in case of depressurisation," he continued, before noting that the pilot had "a guide in which the flight level cannot be changed dramatically in these conditions."

After the incident, the plane returned to Chile where Patriarch Kirill then took another flight to Waterloo Island. Upon arriving at the Bellingshausen Antarctic station, the religious leader held a service for the scientists at the facility.

Patriarch Kirill arrived in Brazil on Friday morning for a three-day visit as part of his tour of Latin America. During his visit he met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia and held a service beneath the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil: Patriarch Kirill talks about 'dangerous accident' on Antarctica flight01:43
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Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus' spoke to press in Sao Paulo on Sunday, describing the moment his plane's windshield smashed mid-flight on the way to Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic station on Waterloo Island on February 17.

"I was told at once that it was a very dangerous accident. The cockpit windshield glass literally shattered into small pieces, it was a duplex glass. And this first layer, which can withstand the greatest impact, it shattered into small pieces and the pilot said that it is very dangerous and we must immediately return to Punta Arenas," Patriarch Kirill said.

"I proposed to the pilot to fly at an altitude of three-four thousand meters, so that we were still alive in case of depressurisation," he continued, before noting that the pilot had "a guide in which the flight level cannot be changed dramatically in these conditions."

After the incident, the plane returned to Chile where Patriarch Kirill then took another flight to Waterloo Island. Upon arriving at the Bellingshausen Antarctic station, the religious leader held a service for the scientists at the facility.

Patriarch Kirill arrived in Brazil on Friday morning for a three-day visit as part of his tour of Latin America. During his visit he met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia and held a service beneath the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

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