Jet catches fire in Siberia airport

Three people reported dead and dozens of others injured as explosion hits Russian aircraft before take-off.

    A similar Russian Tu-154 aircraft made an emergency landing near Moscow on December 4, 2010 [Reuters]

    Emergency ministry officials say three people have died and another 43 have been injured when a Russian passenger jet exploded after an engine caught fire while it was taxiing for take-off at the western Siberian airport of Surgut.

    Vadim Grebennikov, an emergency services spokesman, said 124 passengers and crew were evacuated before the explosion, which destroyed the aircraft and caused flames to spread across an area of 1,000sq m.

    Grebinnikov said 10 people had been 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 that filled the cabin after the plane caught fire.

    The plane started to burn while taxiing on the runway at Surgut before takeoff, an investigative committee of prosecutors said in a statement.

    They said that a criminal probe had been opened to look into the possibility of violations of air transport security rules.

    Igor Levitin, the Russian transport minister, said that it was not clear what had caused the fire.

    "The specialists do not understand what sparked the fire," he said.

    'Panic' on board

    Among the passengers on board were members of the Russian music group Na-Na, who described the panic on board the jet.

    "When the engines were started up, something went wrong and the outer covering of the plane caught fire,'' Vladimir Politov, a group member, said by telephone, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

    "We had trouble opening the emergency exits and people began to really panic, with some of them running right through the flames."

    "There was a thick, black smoke and people started to panic. They were literally stepping on each other's heads," said Sergei Grigoriyev, a singer with the group.

    "I saw my life flash before me," he said according to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

    RIA reported the jet as being operated by the regional Kogalymavia airline, with the flight bound for Moscow.

    Last month, two people were killed and 83 injured in an accident involving an engine failure on another Tu-154 aircraft in Russia. In that incident, two of the aircraft's three engines failed shortly after takeoff, with the third failing as the plane made an emergency landing.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.