How hero flight attendant saved passengers in fiery Russian plane crash

A heroic flight attendant on the plane that burst into flames during a dramatic emergency landing in Moscow grabbed passengers “by the collar” and pushed them out of the aircraft to safety, according to a new report.

Tatyana Kasatkina, 34, told the Sun on Monday that she kicked open the door to the Aeroflot jet and physically pushed lingering passengers — who were delayed as others grabbed their bags from the overhead compartments — out onto the emergency slide.

“When the plane stopped, the evacuation immediately began,” she told the publication. “Everyone was shouting that we were on fire. But there was no fire inside the cabin at this moment.”

“I kicked the door out with my leg and pushed out the passengers so as not to slow the evacuation,” Kasatkina added. “Just to hurry them up, I grabbed each of them by the collar from the back.”

The evacuation was “all so quick,” she recalled.

“The smoke was already black,” Kasatkina said. “The last people were crawling to get out.”

“Everyone had jumped from their seats and moved forward, although the plane was still moving at a good speed,” she continued. “I saw the first woman calling somebody on her phone and saying, ‘We are on fire, we are falling down.’”

At least two children were among the 41 dead in the Sunday crash and nine more were hospitalized, three with serious injuries, authorities said.

Seventy-three passengers and five crew members were aboard the flight.

The emergency evacuation was hampered by passengers who scrambled to retrieve their luggage from overhead compartments, according to the Evening Standard, which cited the Interfax news agency.

Survivors praised the crew for their life-saving actions.

“I thank God — and the stewardesses who saved me,” Dmitry Khlebnikov told the Sun. “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.”

Russia’s largest airline continued working Monday to determine the cause of the blaze — but passengers and the pilot said the aircraft was struck by lightning moments before the crash.


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