Aeroflot crash: At least 40 dead after burning Sukhoi makes emergency landing in Moscow

Investigators and the airport said the plane had taken off for the northern city of Murmansk, but turned back because of unspecified problems.


                            Aeroflot crash: At least 40 dead after burning Sukhoi makes emergency landing in Moscow

MOSCOW: A Russian airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport Sunday evening, and at least 40 people died, officials said.

The airport said the Sukhoi SSJ100 operated by Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot had 73 passengers and five crew members on board when it made a hard emergency landing.  Video of the landing showed flames and smoke billowing from the rear of the plane.

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)

The victims included one member of the crew and at least two teenagers, according to the Investigative Committee. Video showed desperate passengers leaping out of the plane onto inflatable evacuation slides and staggering across the airport's tarmac and grass, some holding luggage.

Investigators and the airport said the plane had taken off for the northern city of Murmansk, but turned back because of unspecified problems.  Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot says a passenger plane that was in flames after an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport had been forced to turn back after takeoff because of technical problems. The plane apparently did not have time to jettison fuel before the emergency landing, news reports said.

Aeroflot said in a brief statement Sunday the engines of the Sukhoi SSJ100 were burning after the aircraft landed, but the sequence of events before and after the fire started was not clear.

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.

However, the plane's reputation was troubled after defects were found in some horizontal stabilizers.

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.

The plane is largely used in Russia as a replacement for outdated Soviet-era aircraft, but also has been used by airlines in other countries, including Armenia and Mexico.

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