Thu, 18 Jul 2019

Russian aviation investigators have blamed last month's crash of a Sukhoi Superjet 100, which killed 41 people, on lightning that disabled its autopilot system and caused the plane to descend too quickly.

The report by the Interstate Aviation Committee, released on June 14, did not blame the pilots for the mishap, which took place on May 5 at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

Nor did it address initial speculation that some passengers fleeing the burning jet tried to bring their hand luggage with them, delaying the evacuation.

The crash of flight SU1492, operated by national airline Aeroflot, raised new questions about the reliability of the Superjet, a midrange jet designed to help bolster Russia's civil aviation industry.

It was the second fatal accident involving the Superjet since it was put into service eight years ago.

The flight departed from Sheremetyevo, heading for the northern city of Murmansk and carrying 73 passengers and five crew members when it was forced to turn around.

Video showed the plane appearing to make a hard landing at Sheremetyevo, bouncing, then speeding along a runway, with flames and black smoke pouring from its fuselage.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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