Runway Collision Causes Explosion of Aeroflot Flight 3352
Flight 3352 as approaching Omsk in poor weather; light rain, visibility 2 miles, 300 feet ceiling.
Landing lights were switched off as they caused a reflection due to the drizzle. Immediately after touching down at a speed of about 140 knots the crew noticed snow cleaning vehicles on the runway. An evasive manoeuvre was of no avail as the aircraft struck two vehicles and crashed in flames. One of the controllers had fallen asleep and thus failed to inform the approach controller about the presence of the vehicles.
Aeroflot Flight 3352 was a Tupolev Tu-154 that left from Krasnodar on a flight to Novosibirsk with an intermediate landing in Omsk. While landing in poor weather at 05:41 (local time) on 11 October 1984, the pilots saw something vague-shaped on the runway but were told by the air traffic controller that the runway was clear. Just after touchdown the pilots saw three maintenance vehicles on the runway that they were unable to avoid. After the collision an explosion occurred (two of the trucks had tanks with 7.5 tonnes of aviation fuel each), the plane turned over and burst into flames.
Subsequently the air traffic controller was found responsible for the crash. According to official investigation materials, he fell asleep on the job and allowed the service trucks to move on the runway without warning the crews of the planes waiting to land.
169 passengers (including 21 children), 5 crew members and 4 airfield service workers died. One passenger and 4 crew survived. This was the worst airplane crash in Russian history. This was the highest death toll of any accident involving a Tupolev Tu-154 at that time. It was surpassed by Aeroflot Flight 7425, which crashed on July 10, 1985 with 200 fatalities.