Monday, May 6, 2019

Aeroflot plane crash: 41 killed on Russian jet

May 6, 2019 (BBC News) Forty-one people died after a Russian plane made an emergency landing and burst into flames just after takeoff from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. Dramatic video shows passengers using emergency exit slides to escape the burning Aeroflot aircraft. Survivors suggest the plane was struck by lightning, but Russia's national carrier said only that it returned to the airport for technical reasons. Two children are among the dead. The jet had 73 passengers and five crew. Initial reports suggested the plane had landed on fire, but sources quoted by Russian news agency Interfax said the jet caught fire after a very bumpy landing. The aircraft landed with full fuel tanks because the crew lost contact with air traffic controllers and decided it was too dangerous to dump fuel over Moscow, Interfax added. "There are 37 survivors - 33 passengers and four members of the crew," said Yelena Markovskaya, an official involved in the investigation of the crash. A flight attendant was also reportedly killed in the incident. Five people are in hospital. One witness said it was a "miracle" anyone escaped.
What happened to the plane?
The aircraft, a Sukhoi Superjet-100, left the airport on May 5 at 18:02 local time (15:02 GMT), bound for Murmansk. Its crew sent a distress signal when "malfunctions" occurred in bad weather shortly after take-off. After making an emergency landing at the airport, the plane's engines caught fire on the runway, Aeroflot said, adding that the crew "did everything to save the passengers".

RIA news agency has broadcast a video clip shot by a passenger as the plane caught fire on the tarmac. A sheet of flame can be seen through the window, and a cloud of sparks, while people scream in panic and a voice - apparently a flight attendant - is heard saying "keep calm". Video shot from airport buildings shows passengers fleeing the stricken jet via an inflatable slide at the front and running away from the inferno.