By Ngombert Claudia With reports.
At least 41 persons have died after a Russian Plane caught fire following an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. The tragic incident occurred on Sunday, 5 May, few minutes after the Russian Aeroflot plane, Sukhoi Superjet 100 SU 1492 flight left Moscow heading to the northern city of Murmansk.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 had 73 passengers and five crew members aboard.
“There were 73 people on board, including five crew members,” the Russian Investigative Committee said.
Some of the passengers managed to escape via the plane’s emergency slide once the plane had come to a halt, before running away from the burning aircraft.
At least 78 people were aboard the stricken flight, including five crew members. Thirty-seven people survived, five of whom are currently receiving treatment in hospital, Russian Investigative Committee’s . spokeswoman, Elena Markovskaya said.
Flight SU 1492 crew “did everything in its power to save passenger lives and provide emergency assistance to those involved,” the airline said adding that “Tragically, they were unable to save all of those aboard.”
The flight’s captain was the last person to leave the burning aircraft, the airline emphasised, and offered its condolences to the passengers and their families. It later announced that it would fly relatives of those affected to Moscow without charge.
Investigations have been launched to identify the exact cause that provoked the emergency landing and the sudden fire.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended a message of condolences to the victims and bereaved families, while ordering investigators to probe the crash-landing so as to establish what had happened.
A three-day period of mourning is said to begin today Monday in the Murmansk region, where many of the casualties are believed to be from.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 Probes*
“The plane had registration number RA-89098. Flightradar24 tracking service showed that it made two circles around Moscow and landed after about 45 minutes,” Aeroflot said.
As of now, the exact cause provoking the emergency landing and the sudden aflamation is yet to be given.
“Soon, investigators will begin interviewing victims, eyewitnesses, airport staff and the airline carrier, as well as other persons responsible for the operation of the aircraft. Required technical documentation will be examined,” the Russian Investigation Committee said.
However, some surviving passengers spoke of lightning strike as they recount their own story.
SU 1492 Survivors’ / eyewitnesses’ Accounts
“We took off and then lightning struck the plane,” surviving passenger, Pyotr Egorov said.
“The plane turned back and there was a hard landing. We were so scared we almost lost consciousness. The plane jumped down the landing strip like a grasshopper and then caught fire on the ground,” Pyotr Egorov added.
Witness Alyona Osokina said she was inside the terminal when she suddenly saw a plane on fire rushing along the runway.
“The blaze was devouring the plane,” she said.
Fire engineers had arrived quickly but could not immediately put out the blaze, she reiterated.
“This horror and tragedy happened before our eyes,” she said, adding that, those who managed to flee the plane then walked calmly towards the airport.
“I believe they were in a state of deep shock, Osokina pointed out.
“We were sitting really close to the plane, which was completely on fire,” Boris Kuznetsov said.
“The flames were huge. It was very difficult for the emergency services to tackle the blaze,” he explained.