What caused the Moscow plane crash?

After a plane crash at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday evening that left forty-one dead, police are trying to reconstruct the events that led to the tragedy. About half an hour after taking off the Aeroflot plane, a Suchoi Superjet-100, turned around due to problems and crash landed, bursting into flames. Opinion pages probe the tragedy and its wider implications.

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Õhtuleht (EE) /

Regulations save lives

Photos and videos show passengers carrying their hand luggage away from the burning plane, prompting suspicions that they may have blocked the escape route for other passengers. People must remember that airline and safety regulations exist for a reason, warns Õhtuleht:

“The experts should assess the case, but perhaps there will be a court ruling against those who wanted to save their luggage at any cost. The moral of the story is simple, and it applies independently of state borders. If there are regulations, they must be observed. ... How many of us actually listen to the safety instructions of the flight attendants before each flight? The Moscow accident conveys the impression that people were more concerned about their hand luggage than about the lives of other passengers. ... The regulations exist not to torment people, but to save lives.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

The hour of the armchair experts

Anton Orech is sickened by the speculation and assessments of the so-called experts:

“We're passing judgements on plane crashes without having the first idea about aviation or airport organisation or safety measures and rescue operations. This is happening not just because so many 'armchair experts' are hungry for a minute of idiotic fame, but also because we don't really expect any truthful explanations. So we start to devise our own according to the logic that the worse it sounds, the more plausible it will be. Human behaviour is unpredictable in crisis and panic situations and no one knows how they themselves would react in such a situation. But we're all convinced that not only would we have left all our possessions in the plane, but we would also have heroically saved women and children.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Pride shattered in the jungle

Moscow has failed miserably with its SSJ aircraft prestige project, Rzeczpospolita concludes:

“The Sukhoi Superjet - the first Russian passenger plane to be built and produced since the collapse of the USSR - as Moscow advertised this aircraft model, is generally regarded as one of the unsafest models in the world. ... Its fate was already apparent on 9 May 2012, when a plane crashed into Mount Salak in the jungle near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta during a promotional flight. That crash was a major financial blow for Sukhoi (because the customers from Malaysia and Indonesia cancelled their orders) and a blow to Russian prestige. Because the SSJ was to mark Moscow's return to the global market as a manufacturer of civilian passenger planes.”