41 people dead as Russian plane bursts into flames after landing
MOSCOW Forty-one people on an Aeroflot jet, including two children, were killed on Sunday when it caught fire after making a bumpy emergency landing at a Moscow airport, Russian investigators said.
Television footage showed the Sukhoi Superjet 100 bouncing along the tarmac at Sheremetyevo airport before the rear part of the plane suddenly burst into flames.
Some passengers escaped via the plane's emergency slides that inflated after the hard landing.
The plane, which had taken off from Moscow bound for the northern Russian city of Murmansk, was carrying 73 passengers and five crew members, Russia's aviation watchdog said.
Ms Svetlana Petrenko, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee, said only 37 of 78 people on board had survived, meaning 41 people had died.
No official cause has been given for the disaster.
The Investigative Committee said it had opened an investigation and was looking into whether the pilots had breached air safety rules.
Some passengers blamed bad weather and lightning.
"We took off and then lightning struck the plane," the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily cited one surviving passenger, Mr Pyotr Egorov, as saying.
"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."
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.
Russian news agencies reported that injured passengers were being treated in hospitals.- REUTERS
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