An air hostess has revealed the horrific moment she was forced to throw passengers out of the burning Aeroflot jet in Russia after it crashed and exploded.
Tatyana Kasatkina, 34, grabbed people by their collars and pushed them out onto the tarmac in a desperate bid to speed up the evacuation process.
She revealed that many passengers trying to escape the flames were slowed down by others stopping to grab their personal carry-on luggage.
The plane, which had been due to fly from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport to the Arctic Circle city of Murmansk, was forced to make a crash landing shortly after taking off on Sunday May 5. More than 40 people were killed in the accident, including two children and a member of the airline’s crew.
Denis Evdokimov, the Flight Captain, and Miss Kasatkina both claimed the accident was caused by lightening hitting the plane. However, other reports suggest that the plane had an electrical fault.
According to Metro reports, Miss Kasatkina described hearing shouts of a fire and kicking open the emergency exit with her foot. She said: ‘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”.’ Miss Kasatkina recalled seeing an ‘electric flash’ before being informed that the flight would be making an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Mr Evdokimov said the fire began after landing and that the plane was not on fire while in the air. Passengers who survived the crash have credited air hostesses for saving their lives, with one stating that he ‘nearly fainted from fear’. Survivor, Dmitry Khlebnikov said: ‘I thank God and the stewardesses who saved me. They were always with us, helping people to climb the slide and get out of the cabin full of smoke… It was dark and incredibly hot inside.’.
The Sukhoi jet had 73 passengers and five crew members on board when it sped down a runway spewing huge flames and black smoke on the night of the fatal crash.