An Antonov An-124 Condor strategic transport aircraft, operated by Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Airlines, was forced to make an emergency landing at Novosibirsk in Siberia after the huge plane suffered a severe engine failure.
The heavy freighter reportedly experienced an uncontained engine failure just two minutes after take-off from Novosibirsk in Russia, returning to execute an emergency landing.
As the plane overran the runway, its nose gear snapped and the plane skidded off the end of the snowy runway. All the 14 occupants onboard the aircraft were reported to be safe. The falling engine debris from the aircraft also did not result in any injuries on the ground.
The Antonov An-124, which is a strategic transport aircraft, had reportedly departed from the Novosibirsk International Airport in Tolmachevo and was headed for Vienna, Austria.
The aircraft is registered RA-82042 with Russia and is one of around a dozen in service with Volga-Dnepr. It was not carrying any cargo at the time of the incident.
According to the Russian media reports, the aircraft departed at just after midday local time and began its ascent. The aircraft lost all communication when it was at a height of around 18,000 feet.
The video footage of the aircraft, which emerged soon after the incident, showed the plane making a turn back towards the airport with smoke trailing from one of its engines.
The aircraft was seen struggling to slow down, which it did after already overshooting the end of the runway by around 700 feet. The emerging pictures showed the aircraft’s nose completely touching the ground, and immersed in the snow after failing to put brakes.
The Aviation Herald claimed the damage to Antonov had been heavy as a result of the incident. The wing was damaged due to the fractured turbine, and the inboard left wing slats and also parts of the left side of the fuselage were also damaged after being penetrated by debris.
RA-82042 is a 31-year-old long-range heavy transport aircraft Antonov An-124, which has been in operation with Russia’s specialist Volga-Dnepr Airlines since 1991. It weighs over 390,000 pounds.
The An-124 had been developed by the Antonov Design Bureau in Kyiv, Ukraine, from the early 1970s, and was originally intended to be employed as a strategic military transport aircraft, equipped with modern features including a fly-by-wire control system. The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) operated 26 An-124s as of 2016, and by that time only 9 were airworthy.
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Russia has been using the An-124 to supply high-end defense consignments to its clients around the world. The aircraft was also used to transport the S-400 air defense system to Turkey amid much controversy over the sale. An-124 has been an indispensable heavy-lift asset to the Russian military and has been used in many foreign missions by the country to supply military hardware to its forces deployed abroad.