Aeroflot Airlines

40 people killed after airplane fire

A plane belonging to Russian national carrier Aeroflot landed in flames at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport yesterday.

Russian officials said that 40 people were killed in the tragic incident.

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.

AP reports that Elena Markovskaya, a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigative Committee, said early Monday that 41 people were killed. But Health Minister, Veronika Skvortsova said later that 38 survived, implying the death toll was 40. The victims include one member of the crew and at least two teenagers, according to the Committee.

In a statement by the airport, they said 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.

Video of the incident show desperate passengers leaping out of the plane onto inflatable evacuation slides and staggering across the airport's tarmac and grass, some holding luggage. Video broadcast later on Russian television showed flames bursting from the jetliner's underside as it lands and then bounces.

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's manufacturer, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, said the plane in Sunday's accident had received maintenance at the beginning of April. Aeroflot said the pilot had some 1,400 hours of experience flying the plane.

This is the second fatal accident involving a SSJ100. A demonstration flight in Indonesia struck a mountain, killing all 45 aboard in 2012.