- Facebook/Mikhail Savchenko
- Some passengers fled the scene of the deadly Aeroflot plane crash in Russia on Sunday while toting their carry-on luggage, a video shot by a survivor shows.
- The footage raises questions about whether the passengers grabbing their bags slowed an evacuation as flames ripped through the aircraft.
- The survivor who shot the video, Mikhail Savchenko, wrote on Facebook that he didn’t know what to make of those passengers with bags but that “God is their judge,” according to an Associated Press translation.
- US aviation authorities have long warned against stopping to grab luggage in emergencies, saying it can be an obstacle during evacuations.
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A video from the aftermath of the deadly Russian plane crash on Sunday shows some passengers fleeing the scene while toting their luggage, raising questions about whether grabbing their bags wasted precious time for others to escape.
The Aeroflot jet made an emergency landing in Moscow while it was still heavy with fuel and immediately ignited, sending flames ripping through the airliner’s fuselage and killing 41 of the 78 people aboard, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
One survivor, Mikhail Savchenko, posted footage on Facebook of the plane’s burning wreckage and said he didn’t know what to make of his fellow passengers’ actions.
He asked people not to judge them too harshly, as they may not have been thinking clearly amid the chaos.
“I do not know what to say about people who ran out with bags,” he wrote in Russian, according to the AP’s translation. “God is their judge.”
Aviation experts have long urged passengers to abandon their luggage in emergencies, as grabbing heavy or bulky items from the overhead bins can waste vital seconds and minutes.
The US Federal Aviation Administration warns on its website that “retrieving personal items may impede the safe evacuation of passengers.”
The National Transportation Safety Board even said in a 2000 study that passengers exiting with their carry-on luggage were the most frequently cited challenge during evacuations, and that flight attendants’ attempts to help passengers evacuate were “often thwarted” by people who insisted on grabbing their carry-on luggage first.
According to the AP, investigators are still looking into what caused the deadly blaze, but Russian state media reported that they’re examining three possibilities: inexperienced pilots, equipment failure, and bad weather.
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