MOSCOW, Russia: At least 41 people were killed after a Russian plane caught fire mid-air before making an emergency landing at a Moscow airport.
The Russian Superjet 100 was flying from Moscow to Murmansk when a fire broke out on board. The flight SU1492 returned to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, making an emergency landing. Aeroflot is the flag carrier and the largest airline of Russia.
The video of the incident showed the plane approached the runway at speed before hitting the ground. The plane bounced back in the air before hitting the runway again and bursting into flames. Videos on social media showed the plane engulfed in flames and people evacuating through emergency slides. A passenger in a plane waiting to depart Moscow posted this video on Instagram. The plane had 78 passengers on board. Aeroflot confirmed that the fire occurred but did not comment on casualties. Thirty-seven people survived, five of whom are currently receiving treatment in hospital.
A probe has been launched by Russia’s investigative committee to find out the reason behind the incident. The committee routinely conducts investigations into major incidents with loss of life.
Passengers were seen fleeing from the stricken Sukhoi Superjet at Sheremetyevo airport. The Aeroflot plane caught fire soon after takeoff from Moscow to the Arctic city of Murmansk. Flames were seen flaring from the rear of the aircraft.
Russian news agency Tass said two children were among the dead. It remains unclear what caused the large blaze an emergency landing. The crew issued a distress signal shortly after departure from Sheremetyevo airport.
The plane was in the air for less than 30 minutes, before making a loop north of Moscow and heading back to the airport.
Reports also suggested that the plane did not succeed in its first emergency landing attempt. Data from tracking website Flightradar24 confirmed the reports that the emergency landing was made about 30 minutes after take-off.