3 dead and scores injured after passenger plane explodes in fireball on Russian runway
2.1.2010 (Daily Mail)
A Russian passenger jet carrying 124 people caught fire as it taxied down a snowy
runway in Siberia and then exploded, killing three people and injuring 43, including
six who were badly burned.
Most of the passengers and crew were evacuated before the explosion, though people on board described a chaotic scene as as the burning plane filled
up with thick, black smoke and panicked passengers rushed through flames to escape.
Emergency services spokesman Vadim Grebennikov said the fire, which began in
one of the engines as the plane taxied for takeoff, caused a powerful blast that
destroyed the Tu-154 aircraft and spread flames across 1,000 square meters (11,000
Russian television showed video taken with a mobile telephone of the burning
plane, its center a giant fireball. All that remained afterward was the tail section
and part of a wing.
Grebennikov said 10 people were seriously injured, including six who were badly
burned and four who suffered broken bones or other trauma. Most of the other injured
passengers sought treatment for poisoning after inhaling toxic fumes.
The plane, which belonged to the regional Kogalymavia airline, was flying from
the western Siberian town of Surgut to Moscow.
Among the passengers were members of the Russian pop group Na-Na, who described
the panic on board the plane.
“First we heard a clap and then there were flames in the back of the plane and
people immediately panicked,” group member Yury Rymarev said on NTV televsion.
The tail fin of the aeroplane after it exploded – the fire started as it taxied
for take off
He added that flight attendants tried to calm the passengers, but the flames
began to spread, especially after one of the passengers opened an emergency exit
and air rushed in.
The plane quickly filled up with smoke that was black and acrid from burning
plastic, Rymarev said.
Another member of the group, Vladimir Politov, said some people were so desperate
to get out that they ran right through the flames, the RIA Novosti news agency
He said all the members of the pop group, which was popular in Russia in the
1990s, got out through an emergency exit over a wing and none of them was hurt.
All three engines on the Tu-154 are located in the back of the aircraft. The
fire on Saturday appeared to have started in the engine mounted over the rear
of the plane.
The Tu-154 has been the workhorse of the Soviet and post-Soviet civilian aviation
industry, first entering service in the 1970s.
But after a series of crashes involving the aging fleet raised safety concerns,
flagship carrier Aeroflot withdrew all of its Tu-154s from service, with the last
flight a year ago.
The midrange jet remains, however, the mainstay of smaller airlines across Russia
and the former Soviet Union. It is banned from parts of Europe due to excessive
Just last month, two people were killed and 83 injured in an accident involving
engine failure on a Tu-154. Two of the engines failed shortly after takeoff from
a Moscow airport and the third cut out as the plane made an emergency landing.
It skidded off the snowy runway and broke apart.
TU-154: All three engines are located in the back of the aircraft.
See Wikipedia page on the Tupolev TU 154
Wikipedia reports that there have been 5 serious crashes of these aircraft since
the start of 2010.
on 24.1.2010 at Mashad (Iran) “Rough landing, the plane broke up and caught
on 10.4.2010 at Smolensk “Crashed on final approach in thick fog. Polish President
Lech Kaczyński and other high ranking officials were onboard and died in the crash”
on 7.9.2010 at Izhma (Russian Federation) “Emergency landing at remote airfield
after power failure, the plane overran the small runway and sustained minor damage,
pm 4.12.2010 at Moscow. “An emergency landing after two of the three engines
failed, landing long, which resulted in the plane sliding off the runway and breaking
1.1.2011 at Surgut. “Engine fire and subsequent explosion while preparing for