Shocking new video shows jet skidding along runway engulfed in 100ft flames before passengers flee crash that killed 41 – The Sun

GRIM new video shows the moment a jet skidded along a runway engulfed in 100ft flames, before passengers flee the Moscow crash that killed 41.

Captain Denis Evdokimov, 42, believes he is being made a scapegoat after his Murmansk-bound domestic flight was hit by lightning soon after takeoff last year.

The Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash-landed at Sheremetyevo, Moscow’s business international airport on May 5, 2019.

Video footage that forms part of the criminal investigation shows flames more than 100ft high engulfing the aircraft, yet 37 escaped from the  horror. 

Some passengers could be seen carrying bags after escaping the inferno on the runway.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced that Capt Evdokimov had been formally charged with violation of safety rules and negligent control of his plane leading to multiple deaths, harm to health and major damage.

But the captain – who faces up to seven years in jail if convicted – has denied the charges.

Prosecutors say he botched the landing coming in at too steep an angle.

The dispute centres on what happened to the stricken plane when it was hit by lightning soon after taking off from the airport.

The committee claims he failed to control the lightning-hit Superjet, which “resulted in the destruction of the aircraft” killing 40 passengers and one crew member. 

Ten people were injured as a result of the inferno.

State investigators said air traffic control and emergency services on the ground were not found to be responsible for the loss of life. 

The Aeroflot's flight recorders were studied by "investigators and experts", who maintained the aircraft "adequately responded to the pilot's control actions,” said a statement.

But the captain’s lawyer, Natalya Mitusova, suggested that the experienced Aeroflot pilot was being made a scapegoat.

There are suspicions that authorities are seeking to protect the reputation of the Superjet, a Russian-made aircraft over which safety concerns have previously been raised. 

She claimed the aircraft did not “obey” the pilot as he took manual control of it after the lightning strike. 

Prosecutors alleged that by coming in to the airport at too steep an angle, the rough landing resulted in broken landing gear piercing the fuel tank, which made the plane burst into flames. 

The aircraft "was thrown from side-to-side” and did not respond when the pilot moved the controls after the emergency.

Instead, the plane reacted in an “incorrect” way – the fourth time an Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 had been landed fully manually, she added. 

The captain claimed the death toll could have been lower, had the rear door not been opened in violation of his orders upon crash-landing.

This led to the massive inferno on the superjet's exterior suddenly engulfing the passenger cabin. 

Most passengers who perished were seated in the rear or middle section of the aircraft. 

Had the rear emergency been left closed, more people would have had time to leave the cabin, he said. 

His lawyer added: "Someone from the crew or passengers opened the door, after which the fire entered the cabin."

Capt Evdokimov’s legal team also alleged ground rescue services were slow to reach the fiery scene.

CCTV footage was cut so it is not possible to be sure of the length of time it took before firefighters tackled the blaze with foam – but passengers were still emerging at this point. 

Investigators said the Superjet had been hit by lightning on 16 previous occasions, but this was the only time it led to disaster. 

Heroic Aeroflot flight attendants saved dozens of those on board the flight but the 41 who perished were either burned alive or overcome by toxic fumes. 

Prosecutors want a maximum seven years jail for Capt Evdokimov, whose father was a respected military pilot and Soviet air force major general. 

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