The TMA-5 capsule made a dramatic and high impact upright landing on the frozen steppes of northern Kazakhstan in the early morning darkness after it had been undocked from the orbiting outpost.
Search-and-rescue helicopters spotted the already dented capsule heading erratically without a parachute toward its designated arrival site about 50 miles north of the Kazakh town of Arkalyk.
After the crash landing, Italian Roberto Vittori, Russian Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao were whisked to an emergency mobile hospital for a quick checkup but incredibly all 3 seemed to be okay.
Russian Salizhan Sharipov explained although still visibly in shock "Roberto asked if he could drive the capsule for a bit and we knew about Italian driving but we though, it cannot be that bad." Salizan then started to cry and shaking added "He was just crazy, I mean crazy, as soon as the capsule had been undocked, he had his foot to the floor, he rammed a commercial satellite within seconds and then he span out of control into the earth's atmosphere." After a pause, Salizan wept "The worst came when the red lights lit up meaning we should use the parachute to start the stop, Roberto just laughed manically, ejected the parachute and we plunged into free fall."
American Leroy Chiao, seemed less composed than his Russian counterpart as he drank from a flask of instant liquid Valium and mumbled "Who needs all that cosmonaut training when you end up with an unexpected guest from the European Space Agency (ESA), worst of all, he turns up with a load of Italian food and Chianti and claims he up here to show us how to eat properly." His hands and body shaking "Surely, those ESA guys know that we cannot eat spaghetti with tomato sauce in zero gravity"
Italian Roberto Vittori was obviously still in great spirits smelling strongly of Chianti as he roared with laughter "Hey, you guys must learn to drive properly, Red lights, Green lights, who cares, we knowa thatta you gotta putta your footta to the floor in Italy."
Two other new crew members, who had arrived with Italian Roberto Vittori, had warned the Russian Space Control Centre of the potential uncontrolled landing with the desperate message "Foreign alien has taken charge of space capsule, we will sit it out here."
However, NASA was much more optimistic reporting, "Again our Russian colleagues have shown how flexible their re-entry space capsule can be in the face of such daunting driving conditions into the safety landing zone."