Sunday, 5 May 2019

At least 41 dead in Moscow plane crash - Aeroflot jet lands in flames

An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 caught fire shortly after taking off from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport causing the crew to issue a distress signal and return to the airport.

According to local media, there were 78 people on the stricken jet at the time of the incident and were enroute to Murmansk.

At least 41 people are now known to have died in the crash, including two children according to local news agency Tass. It is understood that one of the dead is an Aeroflot stewardess, who had been helping passengers evacuate the burning jet. The number of those injured appears to be between 5 and 10 but the number varies between various sources. One witness though said it was a "miracle" anyone escaped the jet.

The crew attempted to make an emergency landing, but this was aborted and the crew made a second attempt.  Videos shared on social media show the jet in flames and trailing thick black smoke as it landed in Moscow.

Images also show passengers running for their lives after the jet came to a halt and the emergency slides deployed from the front of the aircraft.  It is understood that an Aeroflot stewardess, who had been helping passengers evacuate the burning jet has died, while the number of injured appears to be between 5 and 10 according to various sources.

At this stage, it is unclear as to the cause of the fire, early reports indicated an electrical issue that also affected the aircraft's communications systems, although this has yet to be confirmed.  There may also have been an issue with the planes main landing gear which either collapsed on landing or failed to extend fully.

The aircraft's manufacturers, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, said the aircraft, MSN 95135 was produced in August 2017 and it had been undergoing scheduled maintenance at the beginning of April this year. "After tough landing, the aircraft was burned down. The investigation is launched. The representatives of the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, the manufacturer of the aircraft, are part of the commission conducting the investigation." it said in a statement.

Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline confirmed the incident with a brief statement advising that, "flight SU1492 from Moscow to Murmansk suffered an engine fire upon landing after being forced to return to Sheremetyevo International Airport due to technical reasons. The fire has been extinguished. Medical assistance is being provided to those injured in the incident. Passengers left the aircraft via the emergency exits.  An investigation has been launched into the incident, and Aeroflot has activated its crisis response team."

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