While attempting to make an emergency landing Sunday evening, an Aeroflot airliner reportedly burst into flames, killing at least 41 onboard passengers. The tragedy occurred at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
The Aeroflot aircraft, a Sukhoi SSJ110, had a reported 73 passengers and five crew members onboard when the event transpired. The plane reportedly had to make an emergency landing, after having touched down was said to have sped down the runway, with huge flame and black smoke spewing from the planes rear section.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Elena Markovskaya, indicated that 41 passengers may have been killed. However, Veronika Svortsova, the country's Health Minister, stated later that in fact, 38 passengers had survived, which seemed to imply that the death toll was initially reported at 41.
According to reports recently released by the Investigative Committee, the victims included only one member of the aircraft's crew and at least two teenagers. Videos depicted the passengers leaping desperately from the burning plane, onto evacuation slides. They then appeared to be staggering across the tarmac of the airport and grass, some still clutching to their luggage.
The plane had reportedly originated from the Sheremetyevo Airport, bound for the northern city of Murmansk, when it had to make an emergency return, for unknown technical reasons. It was on this return that the craft made a hard landing, which in turn resulted in the starting of the fire.
Russian television covered the incident, broadcasting the scene as the jetliner bounced upon landing, and showed the flames bursting from its underside. News reports indicated that the jetliner appeared not to have had time to jettison its fuel before the precarious landing it made.
Known primarily by the name of the Superjet, the SSJ100 is a two engine jet which entered service in 2011, with what many would say was considerable fanfare. The jetliner was supposed to serve as a signal to the world that Russia’s formerly troubled aerospace industry was indeed rising again.
It has been reported that the plane’s reputation before this crash was tarnished, as defeats were found to exist in some of the horizontal stabilizers.
The manufacturer of the plane involved in Sunday's fiery crash stated the jetliner had undergone maintenance sometime around the beginning of April, and Aeroflot said the pilot had approximately 1400 hours of experience flying the plane itself.
This is the second such fatal crash involving an SSJ100.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Could this crash have been prevented in some possible manner?