Russia plane fire: 40 dead after fire breaks out on board passenger jet

Dramatic footage shows plane with burning tail making emergency landing

Burning Aeroflot plane lands at Moscow airport

At least 40 people, including two teenagers, have died after a large fire broke out on a Russian plane, according to the country’s Interfax news agency.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said at least six people had also been injured.

Elena Markovskaya, a spokeswoman for the committee, said early on Monday that 41 people were killed.

But Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said later that 38 survived, implying the death toll was 40.

The victims included one member of the crew, according to the Investigative Committee.

The Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday.

An airport spokesperson said the jet turned back for unspecified technical reasons and made a hard landing which started the fire.

Dramatic footage on social media showed the plane landing in Moscow, as smoke and fire surrounded part of the plane.

A YouTube video from Russia’s Investigative Committee also showed passengers fleeing from the burning plane after it landed.

TASS said the blaze may also have been caused by a lightning strike, according to a source who had talked to the crew.

An Aeroflot spokesperson said that passengers left the craft on an emergency inflatable slide.

Video footage shows some carrying their suitcases.

Aeroflot is Russia’s national carrier. A rescue team is thought to have searched the plane’s tail, which was completely burned, for survivors.

News agencies reported conflicting figures on the number of injured – from five to more than 10.

Video posted on social media showed much of the plane’s rear engulfed by flame as it sped down the runway

There were 78 people in total on board, according to news agency RIA, including five crew members.

The plane had taken off from Moscow for a regional flight to the northern city of Murmansk.

It returned to the Russian capital shortly afterwards. It is unclear what caused the jet to return to the city.

The Flightradar24 tracking service showed that the plane circled twice over Moscow before making an emergency landing after about 45 minutes.

Russian officials said they had opened an investigation into the blaze and were looking into whether the pilots had breached air safety rules.

“Investigators soon will begin interviewing victims, eyewitnesses, airport staff and the airline carrier, as well as other persons responsible for the operation of the aircraft,” a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee said.

The Superjet is a twin-engine regional plane which was put into service in 2011 with considerable fanfare.

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The plane is largely used in Russia as a replacement for outdated Soviet-era aircraft, but also is used by airlines in other countries, including Armenia and Mexico.

This is the second fatal accident involving the plane.

In 2012, a demonstration flight in Indonesia struck a mountain, killing all 45 onboard.

Additional reporting by agencies

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