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Sunday 20 October 2019

41 killed as fireball plane crash lands in Moscow

Smoke and flames belch from the rear of the plane after it landed. Many passengers escaped using emergency slides. Pic: Reuters
Smoke and flames belch from the rear of the plane after it landed. Many passengers escaped using emergency slides. Pic: Reuters

At least 41 people were killed yesterday when a plane caught fire in mid-air and made an emergency landing at an airport in Moscow.

TV footage showed the Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 coming down at Sheremetyevo Airport with much of its rear engulfed in flames.

Many passengers escaped via the plane's emergency slides that inflated after the hard landing.

"There were 78 people on board, including crew members," the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website.

"According to updated information, 37 out of them survived."

Medical workers had earlier said at least 13 people had died and a number of others remained unaccounted for.

The plane had taken off from Moscow for the northern Russian city of Murmansk before turning back. It was unclear how many crew had been on board. Russian investigators said last night that they had opened an investigation and were looking into whether the pilots had breached air safety rules.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Circled

The Interfax news agency reported that a rescue team was combing through the charred wreckage of the rear of the plane looking for survivors.

The Flightradar24 tracking service showed that the plane had circled twice over Moscow before making an emergency landing about 45 minutes into its flight.

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