More than half the passengers on board Aeroflot Flight SU1492 died after a fiery emergency landing in Moscow. Here’s how the tragedy unfolded.

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REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

  • The Russian airline Aeroflot’s Flight SU1492 made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday.
  • Forty-one people were killed after the violent landing and subsequent fire aboard the Sukhoi Superjet 100 carrying 78 passengers and crew members.
  • Dramatic video of the landing quickly spread across the internet showing the plane bouncing violently down the runway, followed by images of flames and thick black smoke billowing from the jet.
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Aeroflot Flight SU1492 made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday. Of the 78 passengers and crew members aboard the Sukhoi Superjet 100, the violent landing and subsequent fire took the lives of 41 people.

“Aeroflot extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives on flight SU1492 Moscow-Murmansk,” the airline said in a statement. “The crew did everything in its power to save passenger lives and provide emergency assistance to those involved. Tragically, they were unable to save all of those aboard.”

“Our thoughts and hearts are with those who have suffered an unspeakable loss. We mourn with you,” Aeroflot added.

The Superjet is a Russian-made regional jet that first entered service in 2011. According to Airfleets.net, Aeroflot has 50 of the planes in its fleet, each with room for 87 passengers. The aircraft used to operate Flight SU1492, registration number RA-89098, was delivered to Russia’s national airline in September 2017.

Read more: Harrowing video shows rough landing that may have caused the deadly fire on a Russian airliner.

According to the airline, Flight SU1492, en route from Moscow to the city of Murmansk in northwestern Russia, suffered “malfunctions on board the aircraft” shortly after takeoff. As a result, the crew declared an emergency and returned to the airport. Later, one of the plane’s pilots told the Russian media that the plane’s communications systems failed because of a lightning strike.

Dramatic video of the landing quickly spread across the internet. The first video to be posted shows the plane coming to a stop on the runway with flames and thick black smoke billowing from the rear of its fuselage. A second video soon emerged showing the plane bouncing violently down the runway when its main landing gear appeared to collapse and catch fire.

Here’s how Aeroflot Flight SU1492 unfolded:


Aeroflot Flight SU1492 is a daily scheduled flight from Moscow to the city of Murmansk inside the Arctic Circle. On Sunday, May 5, the flight was operated by a Sukhoi Superjet 100, registration number RA-89098.

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Creative Commons/Anna Zverev /CC BY-SA 2.0

Aeroflot Flight 1492 took off from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday at 6:03 p.m. local time.

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Flightaware

Five minutes into the flight, the Superjet turned north toward Murmansk and climbed to an altitude of 10,500 feet. It’s unclear when the communications failure blamed on lightning occurred, but it most likely happened before this point.

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Flightaware

That’s because the flight immediately turns back toward the Sheremetyevo airport and begins to descend.

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Flightaware

The plane spends roughly 10 minutes circling over Moscow as it comes in for a landing.

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Flightaware

Video shows the jet bouncing violently down the runway at Sheremetyevo before the landing gear appears to collapse. The plane catches fire.


Subsequent video shows the fire growing quickly as the crew stops the plane on the runway.


A flight attendant, Tatyana Kasatkina, later said that when the plane came to a stop, she opened the emergency exits at the front of the aircraft. “When the plane stopped, the evacuation immediately began,” she told the London Evening Standard. “I kicked the door out with my leg and pushed out the passengers so as not to slow the evacuation.”


Forty of the plane’s 73 passengers were killed. Another flight attendant, Maksim Moiseev, is said to have died trying to evacuate passengers from the back of the plane.

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Avetisov Kamo via REUTERS

Source: NPR


Some of the surviving passengers have been criticized for taking their carry-on luggage with them during the evacuation, spending time that might have saved the lives of others on the plane.

Click here to read more about Tatyana Kasatkina’s heroism »


Firefighters were eventually able to douse the flames with fire-retardant foam.

Source: Euronews


The intense heat from the fire had melted the jet’s fuselage.

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The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS

According to the Russian news agency TASS, Flight SU1492’s flight recorders have been recovered, and an investigation led by Yevgeny Ditrikh, Russia’s transport minister, is underway.

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Russian Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh at a news conference following the Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 incident.
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REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

On Monday, investigators began working their way through the charred remains of the jetliner.


A makeshift memorial has been set up at the Sheremetyevo airport.


Aeroflot on Monday announced that the families of passengers who perished on the flight would receive $76,584 in compensation from the airline.