41 dead in Superjet 100 emergency landing in Moscow

Superjet 100 emergency Aeroflot flight SU1492 caught fire after a hard emergency landing at Sheremetyevo (Russia’s Investigative Committee)

41 people lost their lives when a Superjet 100 (SSJ100) operated by Aeroflot caught fire after a hard landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport yesterday, May 5, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

The aircraft, with registration number RA-89098, had departed Moscow for Murmansk operating flight SU1492 at 18:05 local time, with 73 passengers and five crew members aboard. Shortly after the initial climb, having reached 11,800 feet, the crew reported “technical issues” and announced their intention to return to Sheremetyevo. The loss of communication that immediately followed made further information unavailable. At 18:30 the aircraft made an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo (SVO). After a hard landing the aircraft instantly caught fire leading to the loss of lives.

The nature of any technical problems which may have occurred inflight, as well as the cause of fire, remain unclear at this point. In an official statement, Aeroflot confirmed that the aircraft had “suffered an engine fire upon landing after being forced to return to Sheremetyevo International Airport due to technical reasons.”

Video footage of the landing shows that it hit the runway hard on the first touchdown attempt and again after a short bounce. It burst into flames on the second impact. The emergency landing was performed with full fuel tanks.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, manufacturer of the SSJ100, has confirmed that the aircraft was completely destroyed in the incident. This SSJ100 (MSN 95135) entered service in September 2017, and had its last maintenance check in April 2019, planemaker said in a statement, not specifying the type of the maintenance. Aeroflot remains the largest operator of the type, with 50 aircraft delivered (including this) and a further 100 on order. A total of 139 SSJ100s are in operation today, including 22 with Mexico’s Interjet, 15 with Russia’s Yamal Airlines, 10 with Gazprom Avia, and nine each with IrAero and Azimuth Airlines, the world’s only all-Superjet 100-operator.

Yesterday’s accident is the first for the Aeroflot Group of airlines in over a decade since the 2008 Perm crash of a Boeing 737 operated by Aeroflot-Nord. It is also the second fatal SSJ100 event since the launch of the programme, the first having occurred during a test flight in Indonesia in 2012, which was put down to pilot error.

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