Connect with us

NEWS

Aeroflot plane crash: Russia jet ‘struck by lightning’

Published

on

Sukhoi Superjet-100

Passengers and crew on board a jet that was forced to make an emergency landing at a Moscow airport say it was struck by lightning moments before it crashed.

Reports of the strike came as survivors told how they escaped the Aeroflot jet which burst into flames on landing at Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday.

Forty-one of the 78 people on board were killed in the accident.

Investigators probing the cause of the crash have made no official comment on the claims it was hit by lightning.

Modern aircraft are built to withstand lightning strikes, and Russia’s national carrier has said only that the plane returned to the airport for “technical reasons”.

However, passengers said the plane, which was heading for the northern Russian city of Murmansk, was struck just after take-off.

Some of the five crew members also said lightning appeared to be responsible for a loss of communication with air traffic control.

Dramatic video showed the plane making a very bumpy landing, bursting into flames after bouncing on the tarmac.

Two children and a flight attendant are among the dead. The acting governor of Murmansk, Andrey Chibis, said in a Facebook post that 26 of the victims were from his region.

The plane’s so-called black boxes – which record flight data and cockpit conversations – have reportedly been retrieved and handed to investigators.
One passenger who survived the crash, Pyotr Yegorov, was quoted as saying that the flight “had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning”, adding: “The landing was rough – I almost passed out from fear.”

Another survivor, Mikhail Savchenko, said he managed to escape by jumping out onto the emergency exit slides at the front of the Aeroflot jet while the rear was ablaze.

A witness said the plane “jumped like a grasshopper” as it struck the runway at speed.

Passenger Dmitry Khlebushkin told reporters: “I’m alive only thanks to the stewardesses. The girls stood there in the smoke, it was dark, extremely hot, but they pulled people out and helped them get down the chutes”.

Stewardess Tatyana Kasatkina said people were leaving their seats and heading for the exits while the plane was still travelling, Russian news site Lenta reports. She said passengers were screaming and phoning relatives as the plane burned.

“It all happened really fast, in a matter of seconds… I was pushing passengers out. I grabbed each one by the collar so that they wouldn’t delay the evacuation.”

Passengers were evacuated within 55 seconds of the plane coming to a standstill, the airline said.

Footage of passengers running away from the burning plane has also been shared on social media.

The aircraft, a Sukhoi Superjet-100, left the airport at 18:02 local time (15:02 GMT) on Sunday, bound for Murmansk.

Its crew sent a distress signal when “malfunctions” occurred in bad weather shortly after take-off.

The aircraft then attempted two emergency landings. On the first approach, the plane was travelling too fast and on the second the automatic systems failed, Russian news agency Interfax said.

Russia’s emergency ministry said there were no plans to ground its Superjet-100 aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly been briefed and expressed condolences to the families of victims.

The region of Murmansk has announced a three-day mourning period.BBC

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 − three =

NEWS

Kembo Mohadi resigns amid sex scandal

Published

on

Kembo Mohadi sex scandal

Zimbabwe Vice President Kembo Mohadi resigned on Monday following local media reports he had engaged in improper conduct.

Kembo Mohadi, along with Constantino Chiwenga, was a deputy to President Emmerson Mnangagwa since 2018, but without a political power base, he was not seen as a potential successor to the president.

In a rare move by a public official in Zimbabwe, Kembo Mohadi said he had taken the decision to step down “not as a matter of cowardice but as a sign of demonstrating great respect to the office of the President”.

I have been going through a soul-searching pilgrimage and realised that I need the space to deal with my problem outside the governance chair,” he said in a statement released by the Ministry of Information.

Local online media service ZimLive has in the past two weeks carried reports that Kembo Mohadi had improper sexual liaisons with married women, including one of his subordinates.

Mohadi, 70, denied the accusations last week saying this was part of a political plot against him. On Monday he continued to deny the accusations saying he would seek legal recourse.

Continue Reading

BUSINESS

Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers

Published

on

Zimbabwe White Farmers

Zimbabwe agreed on Wednesday to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to Zimbabwe white farmers whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families, moving a step closer to resolving one the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.

But the southern African nation does not have the money and will issue long term bonds and jointly approach international donors with the farmers to raise funding, according to the compensation agreement.

Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 Zimbabwe white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 Black families, arguing it was redressing colonial land imbalances.

The agreement signed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State House offices in Harare showed white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land itself, as per the national constitution.

Details of how much money each farmer, or their descendants, given the time elapsed since the farms were seized, was likely to get were not yet clear, but the government has said it would prioritise the elderly when making the settlements.

Farmers would receive 50% of the compensation after a year and the balance within five years. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and acting Agriculture Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri signed on behalf of the government, while farmers unions and a foreign consortium that undertook valuations also penned the agreement.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing  Zimbabwe white farmers.

The land seizures were one of Mugabe’s signature policies that soured ties with the West. Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died last year, accused the West of imposing sanctions on his government as punishment.

The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself. But its supporters say it has empowered landless Black people. Mnangagwa said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West. Reuters

Continue Reading

NEWS

Chinamasa calls U.S. ambassador ‘thug’ as anti-government protests loom

Published

on

Chinamasa

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Monday called the United States ambassador a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of this week’s planned anti-government protests that authorities say are meant to overthrow the government.

Without providing evidence, ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that U.S. ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols, was involved in subversive activities to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Chinamasa’s comments echo the Robert Mugabe era, where the ZANU-PF government regularly accused the United States and Britain of seeking to dislodge it from power.

“He (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of mobilising and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training insurgents, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders,” Chinamasa said.
“Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug.”

The U.S. embassy in Harare did not immediately respond to Chinamasa’s comments. Political tensions are rising fast in the southern African nation after activists called for demonstrations on July 31 against government corruption, which they blame for deepening the worst economic crisis in more than a decade.

Last month, the government summoned Nichols after a senior White House official said Zimbabwe was among “foreign adversaries” using the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd to interfere in U.S. affairs.

The U.S., Britain, E.U. embassies and the United Nations have all criticised Zimbabwe for the arrest of journalists and political challengers.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the West were promising when Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe after a coup in 2017, but have soured over the government’s human rights record.

Patrick Chinamasa urged party supporters to defend themselves from protesters and avoid a repeat of the deadly violence that followed post-election demonstrations in August 2018 and the January 2019 protests over a steep fuel price hike.“No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves,” Chinamasa said. Organisers say this week’s protests will be peaceful. Reuters

Continue Reading

Trending