On May 5, a Russian Superjet-100 plane with 73 passengers and 5 members of the crew onboard crash-landed in the Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. 41 people died as a result of the firie, which was caused by the crash-landing.
Following the tragedy, SouthFront covered available details – LINK.
The May 5 incident differs from other such situation with that there are lots of video and photo evidence (including ones from inside the aircraft during the landing) showing the moment of the catastrophe. Accounts of eyewitness, passengers and even one pilot are available online. Details and visual evidence, which have appeared by now, lead to hard-hitting conclusions about the supposed reason of the tragedy.
The chain of events:
- The Superjet-100 took-off from Moscow on 18:02 (local time). The SU1492 is the flight between Moscow and Murmansk. The aircraft [RA-89098] was delivered to Aeroflot in 2017 and made a first flight in June of the same year. It was fully operational when it left the Sheremetyevo Airport on May 6.
- Shortly after the take-off, the captain decided to return to the departure airport. The supposed reason is failure in one of the power supply systems. This, according to the existing data, caused loss of communication with the ground flight service. The rest of on-board systems worked properly.
- By some unclear reason [according to the existing data], the captain decided to land the aircraft with an overweight instead of spending fuel employing air corridors provided for this purpose around the landing zone. By that moment, the plane was in air less than a half hour and had over a half of the fuel in the tankers. This decision is strange. The Superjet-100 was not burning in the air. It can be supposed that the pilots started panicing because of the loss of communication with the control tower.
- The aircraft came in for landing in a high speed. However, the first try appeared to be unsuccessful and the plane made a circle for another landing attempt. According to the existing data, there was no fire on the plane in the air. The plane was controlled properly at that monent.
- During the second landing attempt on a high speed [significant overspeeding], the aircraft flew over a part of the strip and crash-landed. The Superjet-100 bounced serveral times (up to 3) after the initial touchdown. The gear in the tail end of the jet collapsed as a result of the hard touchdown [under pressure of dynamical force]. The integrity of the engines and fuel tankers were lost. The leaked fuel ignited because of friction between the plane and the strip. The fire engulfed the tail end of the jet. This was the moment when the fire started. It should be noted that previously Superjet-100 planes faced some issues with the gear. However, in such a situation [under heavy dynamical pressure], the gear of any aircraft would collapse.
Посадка пылающего Sukhoi Superjet 100 в Шереметьево. Пилоты – стальные люди pic.twitter.com/ETlzOHbUKw
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) May 5, 2019
UPDATE: Aeroflot #SU1492 footage shows the Sukhoi Superjet bounced on initial touchdown followed by an even harder 2nd ground contact during which the undercarriage collapsed and a fire broke out. There is no visible fire before that point. pic.twitter.com/eIaqmJk8uC
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) May 5, 2019
- The plane slowed down. The entire tail end of the jet was in fire. Escape windows were opened only after the full stop of the jet. An escape slide was set up in the fore part of the plane.
Люди выпрыгивают по надувным трапам из горящего в Шереметьево самолета Sukhoi Superjet 100 pic.twitter.com/rswf7ktTAA
— Лента.ру (@lentaruofficial) May 5, 2019
- People fleeing the plane can be seen on the video. Some of them with large bags. Probably, these are passengers of the business class that had rescued their luggage.
- According to reports by informed sources and eyewitnesses, the evacuation from the jet’s tail end was delayed because of people rescuing their luggage in the fore part of the plane.
- Videos and reports appearing online allow to see that there were no fire apparatuses or other equipment of emergency services near the plane when it stopped. They arrived the scene only in several minutes (according to the existing data, up to 5 minutes). So far, this situation has been explained by remarks that the air control tower had no contact with the Superjet-100 crew and had no clear understanding of what was going on. This version doesn’t hold up against criticism. If some plane without communication conducts an emergency landing, it’s apparent that the situation requres the involvement of emergency services. The video from the air control tower confirms that the deployment of fire apparatuses were delayed.
- According to reports in the Russian media, the pilots suffered from poisoning by products of combustion. One of the pilots did not make comments. Another one, Denis Evdokimov, stated that a lighting strike hit the jet. Same version is being supported by some passengers. Nonetheless, a separate lighting strike cannot cause a critical damage to the plane or konck it out of service. According to the existing data, the plane was operated properly after the supposed lighting strike.
Summing up the existing data, it appears that the tragedy was caused by a series of fatal incompetent decisions [and actions], largely made by the pilots.
Currently, the Russian media is actively speculating on the situation providing contradictory versions and reports. More official data should appear in the coming days.
We express our condolences to people who lost their relatives and loved ones in this tragedy and hope that Russia’s authorities will conduct an in-depth investigation of the tragedy.