‘Everybody ran, jumping over seats’: Passengers relive horror Boeing crash-landing in Sochi (VIDEO)
The incident occurred on Saturday night as the flight from Moscow was heading to Sochi during a thunderstorm, strong wind and heavy rain. The first attempt to land failed due to severe weather conditions, so the plane circled around the airport and came in for a second approach to the runway. The landing was successful, but the worst was still to come.
“We crashed, but it’s OK, I guess,” a man can be heard calmly saying in a short clip recorded minutes after the airliner crashed into a river in the southern Russian city of Sochi. The video shows flames blazing in the night, and some people can be heard shouting at the background.
“The plane landed, and people started clapping, thinking all went well,” passenger Anna Kuznetsova told NTV news channel. “And immediately there was a fire on the left side.”
As the airliner failed to stop, its landing gear was smashed, and the left engine burst into flames.
“We didn’t feel any slowdown. We felt how the plane slid off the runway, tilting left and right. The left wing was burning,” passenger Oleg Panyushkin described the harrowing experience to the Russian Channel One.
Skidding off the landing strip, the plane crashed through the fence, damaging the nose cone and losing a wing. By the time it reached the Mzymta River estuary, its other wing also was in flames. Once the plane finally stopped, the passengers immediately rushed to look for ways to escape.
“It was turmoil. Everybody ran, jumping over seats. Exiting near the right wing, we had nothing… People just jumped out of the plane,” Liliya Chornaya recalled the chaotic atmosphere inside.
“People grabbed the children and simply ran, scattering into different directions. We wanted to get away from the plane because we were scared it might explode.”
All 164 passengers and six crew members on board survived, the Health Ministry said, adding that 18 passengers, including several children, received injuries, none of which were severe.
The only fatality of the night was that of an airport employee, who led the first response team. He was rushed to a hospital with heart failure and died en route.
The incident disrupted airport traffic, delaying more than 20 flights. Russia’s chief civil aviation supervising body has launched a probe into the crash, while the nation’s top law enforcement agency launched a separate criminal investigation.
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