Saturday 17 August 2019

Moscow plane fire death toll rises to 41 - officials

This image taken from video provided by Instagram user @artempetrovich, shows the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (@artempetrovich via AP)
This image taken from video provided by Instagram user @artempetrovich, shows the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (@artempetrovich via AP)
The wreckage of a passenger plane is seen after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
Undated handout photo taken with permission from the twitter page of Stanley Zhang of the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia.Stanley Zhang/PA Wire
Undated handout photo taken with permission from the twitter page of Stanley Zhang of the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia. PStanley Zhang/PA Wire
The wreckage of a passenger plane is seen after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A passenger plane is seen on fire after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Nadezhda Polomoshnova
A passenger plane is seen on fire after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Nadezhda Polomoshnova
In this image provided by Riccardo Dalla Francesca shows smoke rises from a fire on a plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, May 5, 2019. (Riccardo Dalla Francesca via AP)
A passenger plane is seen on fire after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. The Investigative Committee of Russia/Handout via REUTERS
A Sukhoi passenger plane is engulfed in flames after it made an emergency landing due to an onboard fire at Sheremetyevo International Airport, outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. Mikhail Norenko via REUTERS
Smoke billows from a Sukhoi passenger plane after it made an emergency landing due to an onboard fire at Sheremetyevo International Airport, outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019. Twitter @Justin Goslin via REUTERS
Independent.ie Newsdesk

A total of 41 people have been killed in a plane fire at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee said.

The Sukhoi SSJ100 operated by national airline Aeroflot had 73 passengers and five crew members on board when it touched down and sped down a runway with huge flames and black smoke coming of its body.

Video footage showed desperate passengers leaping out of the plane onto an inflatable evacuation slide and staggering across the airport's tarmac and grass, some holding luggage.

Children were among the passengers who died, the Investigative Committee said.

This image taken from video and provided on the Twitter feed of Mikhail Norenko, shows smoke from a plane on fire at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, May 5, 2019. (Mikhail Norenko/Twitter via AP)
This image taken from video and provided on the Twitter feed of Mikhail Norenko, shows smoke from a plane on fire at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, May 5, 2019. (Mikhail Norenko/Twitter via AP)

The airport said in a statement that the plane, which had taken off from Sheremetyevo Airport for the northern city of Murmansk, turned back for unspecified technical reasons and made a hard landing that started the fire.

Some news reports cited sources as saying the plane bounced several times during the landing.

"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," Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.

The SSJ100, also known as the Superjet, is a two-engine regional jet put into service in 2011 with considerable fanfare as a signal that Russia's troubled aerospace industry was on the rise.

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 aboard.

PA Media

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