A heroic Aeroflot employee perished while helping passengers off a jet that burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport Sunday evening.
Maksim Moiseev, a 22-year-old flight attendant aboard doomed Flight SU-1492, died while trying to open a door in the fire-ravaged tail of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane (SSJ100) in order to allow more passengers to escape, Russian news agency TASS reports.
“He was trying to open the rear exit door to quickly evacuate the passengers from the tail that was ablaze,” a source told the outlet. “He didn’t succeed and started helping people to leave the plane.”
At least 41 people died in Sunday’s wreck out of the 73 who were on board, according to officials. Out of the 37 survivors, four were crew members, TASSreports.
Most of those who died are believed to have been killed by smoke inhalation.
The airport said in a statement that the SSJ100, which was traveling to the northern city of Murmansk, was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from Sheremetyevo due to unspecified technical reasons.
The plane made a hard landing and bounced a few times on the tarmac, causing severe damage to the undercarriage that damaged the fuel tank and set it on fire, according to reports.
After the blazing plane came to a full stop on the ground, an inflatable evacuation slide was deployed allowing some of the passengers to jump to safety. Clipsshared on social media show panicked survivors running away from the flaming wreckage.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the incident focusing on three possible reasons for the fiery crash: pilot error, equipment failure and adverse weather.