A Russian Aeroflot jet landed in Moscow engulfed in flames and billowing smoke Sunday, a deadly incident captured in a dramatic video.
At least 41 people died in the fiery wreck, including two children, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced.
Video shows the plane in flames as it roars down the runway. After it stops, some passengers leap onto inflatable slides and stumble away from the raging flames, some fleeing with luggage in tow.
The Sukhoi Superjet, which had 73 passengers and five crew members, requested an emergency landing, the Russian news agency Tass reported. Sukhoi said the hard landing may have ignited the fire.
A correspondent for the Russian news website RT was on a nearby plane and saw the landing.
“We were sitting really close to the plane, which was completely on fire,” Boris Kuznetsov told RT. “The flames were huge. It was very difficult for the emergency services to tackle the blaze.”
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, said in a statement that Flight SU1492 was scheduled to fly from Moscow to the northwestern Russian city Murmansk. The statement said the plane suffered an engine fire upon landing after being forced to return to Sheremetyevo International Airport because of technical issues. No details on those issues were released.
The fire was quickly extinguished, and passengers were able to exit the aircraft via the emergency exits, the airline said. Medical assistance was immediately provided to those injured, the statement said.
“An investigation has been launched into the incident, and Aeroflot has activated its crisis response team,” the statement said.
The Investigative Committee launched a criminal inquiry to determine whether any aircraft operation safety rules were violated. Such an investigation is standard in crashes that claim the lives of two or more people. Sukhoi said it was represented on the panel.
The company said the plane was produced in August 2017 and received scheduled maintenance about a month ago.
The airport, Russia’s biggest and busiest, said it provided psychological assistance to families of the victims.