Pandamonium ensued after a Sukhoi Superjet, engulfed in flames, landed on a runway Saturday night, leaving 41 dead. Survivors revealed that some of the front passengers were so busy grabbing their belongings from the overhead compartment that they blocked the exit for the people in the back of the plane trying to escape.
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The survivors of the plane crash in Moscow directed much of their anger and outrage at Dmitry Khlebushkin, a man who was allegedly sitting up front. According to accounts from those inside the plane, Khlebushkin was grabbing his coat, bag, and suitcase while others were trying to escape from the tail end of the plane after it erupted in flames.
Noticing the blocked front exit, Maxim Moissev, a steward on the plane, died after he ran to the back of the plane to open the emergency exit in the back. The smoke and flames were too much for the father of one.
With no rear exit, this caused everyone to funnel to the front door emergency exit, but many passengers ended up dying as they could not reach the emergency exit.
Russian news outlets reported only three people behind the row Khlebushkin was seated in made it out alive. Passengers of the plane spoke to media outlets about Khlebushkin’s actions. “He saved his backpack. And he is looking really great, knowing that everyone further back than the 11th row died,” one passenger recalled.
Another said: “The first passengers tried to throw out their bags from the cabin and then to slide down. This is why there are delays. That fat man from the video who was angry that he did not get a refund within 40 minutes – he surely took his bag from the overhead compartment despite all the other people.”
The plane crash would have consumed many more lives if it wasn’t for the quick thinking and heroic actions of Tatyana Kasatkina, a stewardess on the plane, who began throwing people off the plane by their collars, the Daily Mail reported.
“When the plane stopped, the evacuation immediately began. The fire was visible. Everyone was shouting that we were on fire, but there was no fire inside the cabin at this moment. I kicked the door out with my leg and pushed out the passengers so as not to slow the evacuation,” she told news outlets.
“Just to hurry them up I grabbed each of them by the collar from the back. It was all so quick. The smoke was already black. The last people were crawling to get out. Everyone had jumped from their seats and moved forwards, although the plane was still moving at a good speed. I saw the first woman calling somebody on her phone and saying, we are on fire, we are falling down.”
Russian officials are still investigating the crash, but pilots indicated that they were struck by lightning before their crash landing.