Almost 23 years after suffering his last fatal accident, an Antonov An-124 freighter had a very serious incident on Friday, November 13. The Volga-Dnepr’s aircraft, registration RA-82042, reportedly experienced a uncontained engine failure in its Lotarev D-18T turbofan as it took off from Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo airport in Russia.
Fragments of the cowling and turbofan hit the left wing and part of the fuselage, forcing the crew to return to the airport. Upon landing, however, the four-engine giant ended up overshooting the end of the runway and stopping after the front landing gear collapsed.
The aircraft was on flight 4066, between Seoul, South Korea, and Vienna, Austria, and was making a technical stopover in the Russian city. The uncontained engine failure occurs when parts end up detaching from the structure. In images on social networks it is possible to notice that the front part of the turbofan has disintegrated.
Four major accidents
With only 55 planes produced, the An-124 has been in service since 1986, initially as a military freighter. But after the end of the Soviet Union, the aircraft was used to carry out special commercial cargo services.
It was precisely in the 1990s, after the collapse of communism, that ‘Ruslan’ suffered its four major accidents. The first fatality occurred in October 1992 when one of the prototypes suffered a bird strike and fell in a forest near the Antonov plant.
About a year later, an Aviastar plane crashed into a mountain in Iran while preparing for landing. There is no official report of the accident to date, but it is known that the plane had not followed the approach procedures.
In October 1996, an Aeroflot chartered An-124 to transport Ferrari cars to Brunei crashed shortly after aborting a landing at Italy’s Turin airport. Just over 14 months later, the last fatal jet crash occurred in Russia when a country’s Air Force unit crashed after takeoff, killing 68 people, most of them on the ground.
Since then, Ruslan has maintained a service record without major incidents, despite constantly flying around the world, especially in recent months thanks to the demand for cargo flights during the pandemic.