A passenger aircraft got stuck at Domodedovo airport for over 4 hours after its landing gear sank in melting asphalt of one of the taxiways due to a strong heat wave that hit Moscow.
As temperatures peaked at 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, an S7 flight from Domodedovo Airport enroute from Moscow to Novosibirsk took off at 16:00 local time instead of a scheduled take-off at 11:15.
“At 11.15 our aircraft, Boeing 737, had to take off,” Evgeny, a passenger on board the flight told Komsomolskaya Pravda. “However, we were informed that the flight is delayed by 45 minutes due to the fact that the plane still has not arrived. At 11.50, when it finally arrived, we were allowed to go on board. The Boeing then drove off and having left the airport building stood up to wait in line for take-off.”
The Boeing 737 could not take off, since the rear landing gear was stuck in a pothole about 10-15 centimeters deep as the heat melted asphalt underneath the weight of the plane.
“But when it came time to fly, he could not budge. The asphalt melted and rear wheels sunk in it by 10-15 centimeters,” Evgeny says.
The passengers had to disembark as the maintenance crew worked on getting the plane back in take-off mode.
“Abnormally high temperatures have led to minor defects to the local seat covers of aircraft parking,” Daria Korshunova, a spokeswoman for the airport told Komsomolskaya Pravda. Korshunova also said that flights coming in and out of Domodedovo airport were not affected.
The temperatures in Moscow region are expected to climb in the coming days. Wednesday's forecast calls for 31-33 C in the city, with 35 C predicted by the weekend. Meanwhile ecologists from environmental monitoring agency issued a “red” alert pollution warning.
The warning extends to those suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, pregnant women and the elderly. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the city for July 29 was in 2010 when the air hit a scorching 38.2 C (100 F).
Every two hours, some 600 specially equipped trucks spray the streets of the Russian capital to cool the pavement. Water is also being handed out to metro passengers and at railway stations.
"In the subway, at 10 stations where there are problems in terms of temperature based on historical observation, paramedics are stationed there,” Maksim Liksutov, the head of Moscow's Transportation Department was quoted by Moscow city portal, FlashNord.
Liksutov also said that “184 metro stations are equipped with water coolers, as well as water distributors at all Moscow's railway stations." In addition, Moscow authorities announced that specially designed “cool rooms” are available for public use in the center of the city.
Moscow's health authorities said that since the beginning of the heat wave, only 2-3 people a day have asked medical assistance related to heat strokes, in comparison to over 7,000 patients that seek medical care in Moscow daily.
Meanwhile in Japan, a heatwave there has taken away the lives of at least 15 people over the past week. Over 8,000 Japanese sought medical attention with heatstroke symptoms, official figures showed Tuesday, AFP reports.
As 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures struck the island nation with high humidity on Saturday, nearly 8,600 people went to emergency rooms for heat-related symptoms by Sunday, Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. Fifteen people have died.
In 2013 Japan experienced its hottest summer on record, with a record 41 degrees C (105.8 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country, causing tens of thousands to suffer heat-related symptoms.