It must have been a normal day for 22-year old Aeroflot flight steward Maxim Moiseyev last May 5 as he boarded his aircraft for flight SU1492 utilizing a Sukhoi Superjet 100. Little did he know that that day, he would be hailed a hero, posthumously! A few minutes after take-off, the Russian jet was struck by lightning which cost some problems. It had to return back to Sheremetyevo International Airport at the Russian Capital of Moscow.
The aircraft did an emergency landing where it bounced and suddenly, burst to flames. When flight attendants commenced an emergency evacuation quickly as possible through the front emergency slides, some passengers began taking their own luggage from the overhead compartment which slowed down the process and the fire at the rear section of the cabin was getting bigger. Many passengers in the rear were trapped and could not escape quick as opening the rear emergency slides would just be like pushing passengers into a burning house. They had to get off the front emergency exits but due to passengers taking their personal belongings, they sadly could not more out the single aisle as quickly as possible.
Flight steward Maxim Moiseyev was located at the rear section of the aircraft and that time, he was at the heart of the inferno. When he could not open the rear exit doors due to the fire, he began assisting and pushing passengers going towards the evacuation slides on the front doors. To help speeden up evacuation, a flight attendant named Tatyana Kasaktina began to grab passengers by their collars and "threw" them out the burning cabin through the slides.
FS Moiseyev refused to leave the rear burning section doing his best to save passengers on board where he eventually died in the line of duty.
Maxim Moiseyev had reportedly dreamed of working in aviation. After completing military academy and serving in the army, he passed a correspondence course in civil aviation. He had worked only 15 months as a steward before the fire.
All survivors and media praised the efforts of the Aeroflot cabin crew.
For Aeroflot flight attendants and stewards, it is indeed a sad day, a day of mourning for the loss of a colleague. Yet, there is one thing Aeroflot cabin crew could be proud of. Their colleague died a hero, sacrificing his own life in a feat of effort to save passengers.
Every flight attendant faces similar danger every day and every moment in their lives. An aircraft is not perfect, it is still a man-made object subject to mother nature's wrath. Flight attendants are indeed trained hard to be prepared for any situation that may happen with their primary objective of saving passengers before saving themselves. This may seem easy on paper, but once you are out there facing grave danger, it is a flight attendant's heart and dedication to their call of duty that will stand out.
Flyhigh Manila posthumously salutes flight steward Maxim Moiseyev for his heroism and valor. He is not only a hero to his passengers, but to every flight attendant out there.
Our hats off also to Aeroflot SU1492 cabin crew! May your story be remembered throughout commercial aviation history.