Forty-One People Die After Russian Plane Catches On Fire While Landing
Horrible footage of a Russian plane landing in flames has shocked the world.
According to USA Today, an Aeroflot plane made an emergency landing in Moscow right as its back end was engulfed in flames. The Aeroflot captain who landed the Superjet 100 aircraft said a lightning strike and full fuel tanks might have had something to do with the fire which left 41 people dead.
Aeroflot Flight SU1492 was scheduled to leave from Moscow to the northwestern Russian city of Murmansk on Sunday. However, it returned to the Moscow airport less thank 30 minutes after taking off because lightning hit the plane, according to passengers and pilot Denis Evdokimov.
He told Russian media that there was a “bright flash and a bang” moments before the crew started an emergency landing. He added that contact with air traffic controllers was hindered by the apparent lightning strike.
Evdokimov said that the crew was left to perform a manual landing and they managed to establish radio contact for “a couple of words” to air traffic control personnel, who guided them down to the runway.
The jet had a rough landing, striking the runway several times, which probably damaged the fuel tanks and caused the fire to ignite in the rear of the fuselage, the pilot explained.
“The speed wasn’t high, it was normal according to the flight manual,” Evdokimov said. However, the jet was heavy with fuel, which added to the challenge of the landing, according to Evdokimov.
A clip of the landing shows the plane riding the runway amid huge flames and a trail of thick black smoke. Moments later, passengers exit the emergency slides.
Of the 41 people who were killed, most of them suffered smoke inhalation and many had serious burns.
“No, I didn’t drag my suitcases,” he said. “No, the moment I was filming, there were no people around me that I could help. But believe me, it’s not much easier.”
Aeroflot said they would provide emergency assistance to survivors and was flying family members to Moscow free of charge.
“Aeroflot extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives,” the airline said in a statement. “The crew did everything in its power to save passenger lives and provide emergency assistance to those involved. Tragically, they were unable to save all of those aboard.”
The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal inquiry to figure out if aircraft operation safety rules were violated. Such an investigation is standard business in crashes that claim the lives of two or more passengers.
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