Horrifying visuals trickled out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport as an Aeroflot Superjet-100 burst into a huge ball of flames 27 minutes into a flight to Murmansk. The pilot managed to call in the emergency, land, and get the plane stopped. Once stopped, the plane was evacuated, but in the process many passengers were injured and one fatally.
A series of social media posts from the scene show the plane, already on fire, landing on the runway, then stopping and the evacuation process happening through the inflatable slide while the back half of the plane continues to burn.
Amazingly, according to a report from RT, “All 78 passengers were evacuated from the burning wreck, and some 10 people have been reported injured.” Dozens of ambulances and firetrucks were dispatched to the site of the fire. The fire was eventually put out, but much of the rear of the fuselage had already been burned down to nearly nothing. [See update below.]
While a fire in mid air is no damn joke, these folks were extremely lucky that the pilot managed to get the plane back to the ground, and that they managed to evacuate in quicktime. With many injuries and one death reported, it’s simply stunning how much worse this incident could have been.
No word yet on what caused the fire, but a criminal investigation has been opened to investigate the incident.
Update: Sunday, May 5th, 2019 at 3:17 p.m. ET: Many other media outlets, including BBC, CNN, and Fox are reporting at least 13 fatalities. According to Russian news agency Tass, among the deceased are two children of unreported age.