One day. Two Aeroflot 737-800s. Two unrelated incidents.
First, a problematic passenger onboard an Aeroflot flight from Surgut (SGC) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) forced a diversion. Surgut is a city on the Ob River in Western Siberia, about 1,800 miles from Moscow. The 737-800, flight diverted to Khanty-Mansiysk Airport (HMA) after a passenger onboard demanded a diversion of his own…to Afghanistan.
The man was deemed either intoxicated or mentally unstable and is currently in the custody of law enforcement. No word on whether he’s been transferred to a gulag.
Meanwhile, another 737-800 slid off the runway at Moscow Sheremetyevo thanks in part to icy conditions on the ground. The flight originated in Astana, Kazakhstan and was evacuated by emergency personnel after the rough landing. All 78 passengers and seven crew members were unharmed. The rough landing caused damage to one of SVO’s runways, but crews repaired the runway, which was re-openend within 30 minutes.
Russia is such a geographically large nation, well-connected by air service, that I am surprised there are no more incidents like this. One decade ago I did a “mileage run” to Moscow back when United still served it and remember how icy the runway was in Moscow in January. Thankfully, my United 777 did not run into a similar fate as the Aeroflot 737-800…
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image: Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons