The streets of Siberia are hardly paved with gold -- but a runway in Yakutsk was strewn with the stuff after an aircraft hatch flew open accidentally on takeoff, Russian news reports said.
A cargo of 9.3 tons of precious metal was not properly secured and a portion of it tumbled out, reports cited local investigators as saying in a statement.
Damage to a door handle caused it to fly open when the Soviet-designed An-12 plane was taking off for Krasnoyarsk with the cargo from a mining company.
Authorities recovered 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tons, state-run news agency TASS quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying.
Nobody was hurt.
The aircraft, operated by the transport company Nimbus, made an emergency landing in the town of Magan, about 12 kilometers from Yakutsk.
A blog post on Facebook said bars of gold and platinum were scattered about the local fields, and a photo posted on social media showed glittering objects strewn across a runway.