Sukhoi Superjet 100: Moscow Crash Not the Only One for Russia’s First Passenger Plane
Sukhoi, which is known to manufacture military fighter jets like Su-30MKI, introduced the Superjet 100 passenger plane in 2011.
Sukhoi Superjet 100. (Image: Sukhoi)
Forty-one people on board a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane were killed on Sunday, including two children, after the aircraft caught fire as it made a bumpy emergency landing at a Moscow airport, Russian investigators said. Television footage showed the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash bouncing along the tarmac at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before the rear part of the plane suddenly burst into flames.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 which is manufactured in the Russia’s Far East is the first passenger jet manufactured by Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. The aircraft is manufactured by state owned United Aircraft Corporation, which a join collaboration of the Russian government with various civil and military aircraft manufacturers including Sukhoi and Mikhoyan, both of which provide military fighter jets to India, including the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG-21.
The Superjet entered service in 2011 and this is not the first Sukhoi passenger plane to crash as a Superjet crashed in Indonesia in 2012, killing all 45 people on board in an accident blamed on human error.
Russian news agencies reported that the plane had been produced in 2017 and had been serviced as recently as April this year.
Aeroflot has long shaken off its troubled post-Soviet safety record and now has one of the world's most modern fleets on international routes where it relies on Boeing and Airbus aircraft. However, the plane has been hit by sporadic concerns over safety and reliability, including a December 2016 grounding after a defect was discovered in an aircraft's tail section.
Russian officials said on Sunday it was premature to talk of grounding the Sukhoi Superjet for now. The plane is predominantly used by Russian airlines like Aeroflot, but is also used by a few other foreign operators, including a low-cost Mexican airline.
The plane, which had been flying from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk, had been carrying 73 passengers and five crew members, Russia's aviation watchdog said. Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigative Committee, said in a statement that only 37 out of 78 people on board had survived, meaning 41 people had lost their lives.
As of now, some passengers are blaming bad weather and lightning. "We took off and then lightning struck the plane," the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily cited one surviving passenger, Pyotr Egorov, as saying.
"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."
State TV broadcast mobile phone footage shot by another passenger in which people could be heard screaming.
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed their condolences and ordered investigators to establish what had happened.
With Inputs from Reuters
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