Thursday 22 August 2019

Plane that burst into flames while landing, killing 41 people, was 'struck by lightning'

Burning: Flames and black smoke billow from the Superjet-100 on the runway at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. Photo: Getty Images
Burning: Flames and black smoke billow from the Superjet-100 on the runway at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. Photo: Getty Images
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

Russian media have quoted the pilot of the airliner that burst into flames during an emergency landing in Moscow as saying the plane was without radio communications because of a lightning strike.

Sunday's fire killed 41 of the 78 people aboard the Aeroflot plane.

The plane had taken off for Murmansk in stormy weather, but quickly turned back for an emergency landing. It made a hard landing and flames erupted.

Pilot Denis Evdokimov was quoted by Zvezda TV and the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that "because of lightning, we had a loss of radio communication."

State TV quoted flight attendant Tatiana Kasatnika as saying "We took off, got into a cloud, there was strong hail, and at that moment there was a pop and some kind of flash, like electricity".

Both flight recorders have been recovered from the plane

Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko was quoted by Russian news agencies on Monday as saying investigators are looking into three main possibilities behind the cause of the disaster - insufficient pilot qualifications, equipment failure, and weather.

Video on Russian TV showed the Aeroflot plane's underside bursting into flames and spewing black smoke after making a hard landing at Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday night.

Those who escaped leapt out of the Sukhoi SSJ100 airliner down inflatable emergency slides and ran across the tarmac.

Storms were passing through the Moscow area when the jet caught fire during the emergency landing, after it turned back during an internal flight to Murmansk.

Russian transport minister Yevgeny Dietrich said 41 bodies have been recovered from the burned wreckage.

He also told reporters in a briefing on Monday that six people who survived the disaster on Sunday night are being treated in hospital.

PA Media

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