In May 2019, a Russian aircraft was struck by lightning and crash landed, killing 41 people on board.
Shocking new footage of the moment a Russian jet skidded across a runway while engulfed in fire as passengers fled the horrifying ordeal has been released on Wednesday.
The Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow on May 5, 2019, killing 41, after the aircraft was struck by lightning and forced to attempt an emergency landing.
In December of that year, Captain Denis Evdokimov was formally charged of “a crime relating to breaches of air transport safety rules which, as a result of negligence, resulted in two or more fatalities,” according to AIN Online.
The Investigative Committee of Russia concluded the “pilot’s lack of professionalism led to the airplane catching fire, resulting in property loss of 1.5 billion rubles ($23 million),” per the outlet.
As the videos shows, the rear half of the Superjet was consumed in flames as it slid to a stop — offering a chance for the emergency inflatable chutes to be released and people on board to evacuate.
They jump and slide down the first chute on one side of the plane and scramble away from the gigantic inferno, as the second chute is inflated on the other side.
Running for their lives, the fleeing people scatter across the runway before emergency vehicles approach and begin dousing the aircraft with water.
37 survived the terrifying tragedy.
However, as depicted in the clip, many of those evacuees were carrying luggage, which critics claimed could have resulted in more deaths, as grabbing personal items before exiting would have taken up precious time.
“Reports from people on the plane indicate the evacuation may have been slowed by passengers grabbing their bags. Videos show passengers taking their carry-on bags with them as they exited the plane,” the Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement at the time of the crash. “We will never know if more lives could have been saved if the bags were left behind.”
Meanwhile, Evdokimov has denied all charges, claiming the lightning strike caused the plane to develop technical malfunctions.
He also maintained that the cabin crew opened the rear doors after landing, allowing fire to enter the jet, causing those seated towards the back of plane and in the middle to have less of a chance of surviving, according to AIN Online.
In December, his lawyer, Natalya Mitusova, said her client is being made a “scapegoat” to protect the reputation of the Superjet, according to Russian Aviation.
“The investigators pursued only one line of inquiry,” she said at the time. “Technical problems of the specific plane or mistakes in its design were not examined.”
“We’ve anticipated all along that the blame will be placed on the captain or the whole crew, which is unfair. The forensic examinations we requested have not been made. Our requests were ignored,” she added.