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Russian passenger plane explodes

Russian passenger plane explodes after emergency landing due to engine flameout

January 1, 2011   Saturday

A Russian Tu-134 passenger jet that made an emergency landing in the city of Surgut due to an engine flaming out on takeoff, exploded after landing, a police source said on Saturday.
None of the 130 people, including the flight crew, on board the aircraft were injured and were able to evacuate the plane before it exploded.
A popular Russian pop music group, Na-Na, was among the passengers on the ill-fated airliner.

"The fuel tanks of the aircraft exploded after landing, there are no injuries; the passengers were able to evacuate the plane before the explosion," the police source said.

The police source said that there were another four passenger airplanes, including a Boeing, next to the Tu-134 after it landed, however, they were towed away to a safe distance before the explosion occurred. The plane has been completely extinguished, he added.

"After the plane's engines [were shut down], something happened and the plane's fuselage caught fire. [We] couldn't open the emergency exits for a long time and people began to really panic, some of them ran right through the flames," Vladimir Politov, one Na-Na's members told RIA Novosti by phone.

"We left through the exit over the plane's wing. None of us was injured, but all of our documents and personal items [and baggage] burned," he continued, adding that all the passengers are now located inside the airport in Surgut waiting for representatives from Kolavia Airlines to arrive.

The plane was taking off from Surgut in Siberia to Moscow at 1:25 p.m. Moscow time [10:25 GMT] when its turbine caught fire, the police source said.


Russian passenger jet explodes; 3 dead, 43 injured
Fire in engine causes explosion while Tu-154 was on Siberian runway

A Russian passenger jet carrying 124 people caught fire as it taxied down a snowy runway and then exploded at a Siberian airport on Saturday,
killing three people and injuring 43, including six who were badly burned, officials said.
Most of the passengers and crew were evacuated before the explosion, though one person described a chaotic scene as panicked people rushed through flames to escape the burning plane.

Emergency services spokesman Vadim Grebennikov said the fire, which began in one of the engines as the plane taxied for takeoff, caused a powerful blast that destroyed the Tu-154 aircraft and spread flames across 1,000 square meters (11,000 square feet).

Russian television showed video taken with a mobile telephone of the burning plane, its center a giant fireball. All that remained afterward was the tail section and part of a wing.
Grebennikov said 10 people were seriously injured, including six who were badly burned and four who suffered broken bones or other trauma. Most of the other injured passengers sought treatment for poisoning after inhaling toxic fumes.

The plane, which belonged to the regional Kogalymavia airline, was flying from the western Siberian town of Surgut to Moscow.
Among the passengers were members of the Russian pop group Na-Na, who described the panic on board the plane.

"When the engines were started up, something went wrong and the outer covering of the plane caught fire," group member Vladimir Politov said by telephone, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. "We had trouble opening the emergency exits and people began to really panic, with some of them running right through the flames."

Politov said he and the other members of the group, which was popular in Russia in the 1990s, got out through an emergency exit over a wing and none of them was hurt.
All three engines on the Tu-154 are located in the back of the aircraft. The fire Saturday appeared to have started in the engine mounted over the rear of the plane.

The Tu-154 has been the workhorse of the Soviet and post-Soviet civilian aviation industry, first entering service in the 1970s. But after a series of crashes involving the aging fleet raised safety concerns, flagship carrier Aeroflot withdrew all of its Tu-154s from service, with the last flight a year ago.
The midrange jet remains, however, the mainstay of smaller airlines across Russia and the former Soviet Union. It is banned from parts of Europe due to excessive engine noise.

Just last month, two people were killed and 83 injured in an accident involving engine failure on a Tu-154. Two of the engines failed shortly after takeoff from a Moscow airport and the third cut out as the plane made an emergency landing. It skidded off the snowy runway and broke apart.

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