Advertisement

At least 40 dead after fire breaks out on plane in Russia: officials

Click to play video '41 dead as Russian passenger plane lands in flames at Moscow airport' 41 dead as Russian passenger plane lands in flames at Moscow airport
WATCH ABOVE: 41 dead as Russian passenger plane lands in flames at Moscow airport

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 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 spewing huge flames and black smoke.

WATCH: Russian passenger plane lands in Moscow covered in flames
Click to play video 'Russian passenger plane lands in Moscow covered in flames' Russian passenger plane lands in Moscow covered in flames
Russian passenger plane lands in Moscow covered in flames

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

IN PHOTOS: Plane on fire at Moscow airport

This image provided by Riccardo Dalla Francesca shows smoke rising from a fire on a plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, May 5, 2019.
This image provided by Riccardo Dalla Francesca shows smoke rising 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.
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.
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.
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)
Emergency service vehicles are parked at the entrance of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Emergency service vehicles are parked at the entrance of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
An ambulance vehicle stands in front of Aeroflot's Sheremetyevo airport terminal after the fire was put out on May 5, 2019.
An ambulance vehicle stands in front of Aeroflot's Sheremetyevo airport terminal after the fire was put out on May 5, 2019. EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY via AP
A passenger plane is seen on fire after an emergency landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow, Russia May 5, 2019.
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

The airport said in a statement 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.

Story continues below advertisement

Video broadcast later on Russian television showed flames bursting from the jetliner’s underside as it lands and then bounces. The plane apparently did not have time to jettison fuel before the emergency landing, news reports said.

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.

WATCH: Passengers escape using emergency slide as Russian plane burns on runway

Click to play video 'Passengers escape using emergency slide as Russian plane burns on runway' Passengers escape using emergency slide as Russian plane burns on runway
Passengers escape using emergency slide as Russian plane burns on runway

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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 a SSJ100. In 2012, a demonstration flight in Indonesia struck a mountain, killing all 45 aboard.