Fiery engine-start causes panic among passengers on a UTair flight

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On 17 April, a UTair Boeing 737 (VQ-BHZ) was being pushed back at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. During start-up of the right hand engine, however, some flames appeared from the back of the engine, caused by disrupted air flow in the engine.

The crew then tried to calm down a few terrified passengers, but the passengers were not at all convinced. A few of them opened the over-wing exit and climbed out on the right wing, before returning back inside the cabin upon request by the crew members.

UTair confirmed that an airflow interruption caused flames to burst from the engine as it was starting up. “The aircraft is completely airworthy, fully operational and the safety of the passengers and crew members was never at risk,” the airline said, “we will now operate the flight to Makhachkala, near Georgia on another aircraft.

The passengers that opened the over-wing exit were detained and questioned. One of them said to the Russian press: “We noticed the panic among the passengers. When people started to run and squash each other, other started screaming and yelling, in order to cool down the situation and to stop the panic, we decided to open the emergency exit.”

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