James Oberg reports in the iEEE Spectrum:
What should have been a routine return from the International Space Station (ISS) on 19 April 2008 quickly turned into a heart-stopping drama for ground controllers and the three astronauts aboard a Soyuz TMA-11. The craft had disappeared during the descent and was then found on a scorched steppe some 400 kilometers from where it was supposed to land. Now the incident is a technological puzzle to space engineers and a potential political challenge to the international partnership behind the ISS.
Although the technical investigation will take weeks to resolve, NASA and Russian engineers have come to several credible preliminary conclusions. And internal NASA documents, such as “15S Ballistic Entry Outbrief” by George Kafka, chief of the Safety & Mission Assurance Directorate for the ISS program, reveal a plausible idea of what probably happened.
The crew survived, not because of any heroics, and certainly not because of anything the ground team did, but because of a robust spacecraft design and some good engineering.
Hat tip to Rand Simberg for the link.