A survivor on the Aeroflot flight that killed 41 people after bursting into flames on landing at a Moscow airport has been accused of “blocking” others from escaping the burning aircraft when he evacuated with his bag.
It has been reported some passengers delayed the emergency evacuation by searching for their luggage before exiting the Sukhoi SSJ100 operated by the Russian flagship carrier.
Crash survivor Dmitry Khlebushkin was pictured walking away from the blaze holding his backpack, which he had rescued from the burning plane.
After escaping the crash, he later told Russian media Aeroflot was “unprofessional” in the handling of the incident and refused to refund his airfare.
“I failed to get a refund for my ticket for 40 minutes,” he reportedly said. “And in the end I did not get it at all.”
The passenger, who was reportedly seated in row 10, has now been targeted on Russian aviation online forum Forumavia, where the footage was shared of him escaping the plane holding his backpack.
It is not known whether his bag was in the overhead lockers or by his feet, where he may have been able to easily pick it up, however local media reports only three passengers behind him made it out alive.
Footage shows some passengers throwing their bags down the evacuation slide while others were stuck at the back of the burning plane.
Some of those who escaped were carrying luggage, raising concerns that grabbing their bags may have delayed an evacuation in which every second was critical.
“I do not know what to say about people who ran out with bags. God is their judge,” survivor Mikhail Savchenko wrote on Facebook.
Flight attendant Tatyana Kasatkina told The Sun she was forced to shove terrified passengers onto the tarmac because they weren’t evacuating quickly enough.
An airport official told The Mirror those on board held up the evacuation.
“Many passengers delayed emergency evacuation - because against all instructions - they were picking up hand luggage from overhead compartments,” the official told the paper.
Lightning blamed for Aeroflot jet emergency landing
The plane’s pilot and surviving passengers have said the aircraft was struck by lightning moments before the crash.
Another passenger, Petr Egorov, told reporters the Aeroflot plane “had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning.”
Pilot Denis Yevdokimov told Russian media the plane had lost radio communications because of a lightning strike, but it was not clear if that precipitated the emergency landing.
“We managed to restore communication through the emergency frequency on our radio connection. But the link was only for a short time and kept cutting out … it was possible to say only a few words.”
With Associated Press
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