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41 dead as Russian plane bursts into flames on landing


Monday May 6, 2019

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A Russian passenger plane erupted in a huge ball of fire and black smoke after making an emergency landing at Moscow’s busiest airport, killing 41 people including at least two children.

Dramatic footage that went viral on social media showed Aeroflot’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft crash-landing and then speeding along the runway at Sheremetyevo international airport on Sunday, flames pouring from its fuselage.

Passengers could be seen leaping onto an inflatable slide at the front and running from the blazing plane as huge black columns of smoke billowed into the sky.

Investigators said 41 people had died.

“There were 78 people including crew members on board the plane,” which was bound for the northwestern city of Murmansk, Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.

“According to the updated info which the investigation has as of now, 37 people survived.”

Eleven people were injured, Dmitry Matveyev, the Moscow region’s health minister said earlier in the day.

DEEP SHOCK

Witness Alyona Osokina said she was inside the terminal when she suddenly saw a plane on fire rushing along the runway.

“The blaze was devouring the plane,” she told Rain TV.

Ms Osokina said that fire engines had arrived quickly but could not immediately put out the blaze.

“This horror and tragedy happened before our eyes,” she said, adding that those who managed to flee the plane then walked towards the airport.
“I believe they were in a state of deep shock.”

The jet — carrying 73 passengers and five crew members — left Sheremetyevo at 6:02pm (1502 GMT), and the crew issued a distress signal shortly afterwards, officials said.

“After the take-off, the crew reported an anomaly and decided to come back to the departure airport. At 6:30 pm, the aircraft made an emergency landing,” the airport said in a statement.

INVESTIGATION

Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier, said the plane had to return to the airport “due to a technical reason” and its engines caught fire upon landing. Previous reports had said the fire broke out in mid-air.

The jet reportedly managed to land on its second attempt, hitting the ground with its landing gear first and then its nose.

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