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Passengers Flee Onto Plane's Wing After Flames Shoot Out of Engine

In the wake of a couple major commercial jet crashes in the past few months, it's fair to feel a bit on-edge when you hear or see something weird happening outside the plane while you're riding the friendly skies...

In the wake of a couple major commercial jet crashes in the past few months, it's fair to feel a bit on edge when you hear or see something weird happening outside the plane you're on. That's why we can't blame some of the passengers on a recent flight in Russia, who decided to hightail it out onto the wing of the plane when they noticed flames were shooting out of the engine. 

While taxiing for takeoff at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport, passengers aboard a Utair flight bound for the city of Makhachkala spotted a troubling sight out the right side of the aircraft, when flames suddenly began shooting out from beneath the wing. It was enough to set off a mild panic inside the cabin, and prompted a few passengers in the exit row to open the exit hatch door and climb out onto the wing, according to The Independent. In a video captured of the incident (shown above), you can clearly see the fire as the flight attendants are delivering the pre-flight safety speech.

“When the panic started, when people started to run, squashing each other, when they began screaming and yelling, in order to pacify them and to stop the panic we opened the emergency exit,” one of the passengers who decided to hop out toldThe Sun in an interview. 

The cabin crew was eventually able to coax the folks on the wing to come back inside, explaining to them that nothing was wrong with the aircraft and that flames shooting out from under the wing is totally "normal." The plane then returned to the gate, and the three passengers who'd left through the emergency exit were questioned by authorities. 

"This was an ordinary situation, the plane was in order, passengers were in no danger,” a Utair spokesperson told Russia’s RBC news. And as unordinary as it may seem, it's likely true, as flames are a fairly normal byproduct of excess fuel burning off when airflow to the engine is disrupted. It's not necessarily a sign that the engine is on fire.

Although the original aircraft was evidently in perfect working conditions, passengers were eventually transferred to a different (presumably flame-free) plane to make the journey after a slight delay.

h/tTravel & Leisure


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.