Russian plane was struck by lightning moments before bursting into flames, passengers claim

The Aeroflot plane burst into flames at the Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday. The incident resulted in a loss of 41 lives.


                            Russian plane was struck by lightning moments before bursting into flames, passengers claim

The Russian plane that burst into flames during an emergency landing in Moscow was reportedly struck by lightning moments before the crash on Sunday, according to the pilot and surviving passengers.

The incident resulted in a loss of 41 lives, including passengers and crew members on the aircraft. A total of 78 people were on board the plane when the incident occurred.

The surviving passengers said that lightning struck the plane right at the beginning of the flight. Petr Egorov, who was onboard the Aeroflot jet, said that the plane "had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning," the BBC reported.

"The landing was rough. I almost passed out from fear," he said referring to the bumpy landing during which the plane burst into flames at the Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday.

The aircraft burst into flames as it landed, killing 41 people onboard the plane. (AP)

The aircraft's pilot, Denis Yevdokimov, while talking to Russian media said that the plane had lost communication and needed to switch to emergency control mode "because of lightning."

“We managed to restore communication through the emergency frequency on our radio connection. But the link was only for a short time and kept cutting out. It was possible to say only a few words.,” Yevdokimov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. 

Authorities on Sunday said that at least two children were among the 41 dead and nine more people were hospitalized, three of them sustained serious injuries.

People gather around the damaged Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP)

 

Aeroflot, the Russian Federation's largest airline, on Monday, continued efforts to determine the cause of the fire. The airlines, till now, has only stated that the plane needed to return to the airport it took off from because of "technical reasons." Investigators have not yet commented on the passengers' claim of the aircraft being struck by lightning.

Russian news agency Interfax states that the plane had made a landing with full fuel tanks, resulting in a raging fire. Reports state that the tanks were full because the crew lost contact with air traffic controllers and decided that it was too dangerous to dump fuel all over Moscow.

An official involved in the investigation of the crash, Yelena Markovskaya, said: "There are 37 survivors - 33 passengers and four members of the crew."