At least forty-one people were killed Sunday when a Sukhoi Superjet operated by Russia’s Aeroflot Airlines made an emergency landing and caught fire at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.
Social media users captured the disturbing videos of the plane’s crash landing and the aftermath as dozens fled the wreckage. Officials said a criminal investigation had been launched into the incident.
The Sukhoi SSJ-100 regional jet had 73 passengers and five crew on board when it was forced to turn back to the airport due to a ‘technical fault’ according to Russian Interfax news agency.
It landed hard on the runway, striking its tail on the runway as it bounced. The back of the plane then burst into flames as the plane landed and slid off the runway.
More than half the planes passengers were killed. The victims included one member of the crew and at least two teenagers, according to Russia's investigative committee.
The airline - Russia's flagship carrier - said emergency medical care was being provided to the injured, with at least seven people reported to have been hurt.
Drivers View As The Moscow-Murmansk Aeroflot Plane In Flames During Landing :Onlitsen #самолет #Plane #Crash #Moscow #Murmansk #Москва #Мурманск #PlaneCrash #Burning #Fire #Pilot #Accident #Москвы #Шереметьево #Airport #Sheremetyevo #Aeroflot #Russia pic.twitter.com/ax9WHpfGaW— maxpl (@mapkpets) May 5, 2019
The Russian health ministry said two of the injured were in a "serious condition".
The Aeroflot plane had been in the air less than half an hour when it declared an emergency and circled back. There were no reports of a fire at the time, and an investigation had been opened to establish the cause of the sudden blaze.
According to Interfax, the plane - which had been bound for the northern city of Murmansk - had tanks full of fuel when it made its landing just 20 minutes after taking off.
13 people, including 2 children, confirmed dead in #Superjet100 crash-landing in #Moscowhttps://t.co/EC18A8JprW #superjetcrash #Sheremetyevo #planefire #SheremetyevoAirport #Russia #planecrash pic.twitter.com/Zynyg2t2XE— Richard Grune (@0406Guno) May 5, 2019
It has been speculated that the initial hard landing caused the fuel from the tanks to spill and flare, engulfing the back of the main body of the aircraft in flames.
The SSJ-100 is largely used in Russia as a replacement for outdated Soviet-era aircraft, but is also used by airlines in other countries, including Armenia and Mexico.
It has been involved in a fatal accident once before, in 2012, when a demonstration flight in Indonesia struck a mountain, killing all 45 aboard.