Plane bursts into flame on landing, killing at least 41 people on board
TWO children were among 41 people on a Russian Aeroflot plane who died after it caught fire as it made an emergency landing at a Moscow airport.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash bounced along the tarmac at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before the rear of the plane suddenly burst into flames.
Many passengers on board SU 1492 then escaped via the plane's emergency slides that inflated after the hard landing.
The plane, which had been flying from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk, had been carrying 73 passengers and five crew members.
No official cause was yet been given for the incident although some surviving passengers spoke of a lightning strike.
Russia's investigative committee said it had opened an investigation and was looking into whether the pilots had breached air safety rules.
"We took off and then lightning struck the plane," said Pyotr Egorov, a surviving passenger.
"The plane turned back and there was a hard landing. We were so scared we almost lost consciousness. The plane jumped down the landing strip like a grasshopper and then caught fire on the ground."
President Vladimir Putin ordered investigators to establish what had happened.
The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed "informed source" as saying the evacuation of the plane had been delayed by some passengers insisting on collecting their hand luggage first.
The Flightradar24 tracking service showed the plane had circled twice over Moscow before making an emergency landing after just under 30 minutes in the air.
The plane's under-carriage gave way on impact and its engines caught fire.