41 killed in Superjet crash!

Moscow airport fire

FLAMES A fire has ripped through a passenger plane at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow

Forty-one people on board a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane were killed on Sunday after the aircraft caught fire as it made a bumpy emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Russian investigators said.

No official cause has been given for the disaster as yet.

Russia's investigative committee has opened a criminal inquiry into safety violations leading to the death of two or more people, a common step after mass casualty events in Russian Federation.

Some flights have been diverted to other airports.

A flight attendant named Maxim Moiseev, 22, tragically died trying to save passengers towards the tail of the plane, according to reports.

The Russian Investigative Committee said 41 people died, including one crew member.

A commission has been created to probe the cause and circumstances of the accident. Footage showed the plane bouncing along the runway as it landed. "At 6:30 pm, the aircraft made an emergency landing", it added.

Mr Evdokimov claimed that the blaze began after landing and that the plane was not on fire in the air.

According to Komsomolskaya Pravda daily newspaper, one survivor said: "The landing was rough - I nearly passed out from fear".

One witness said it was a "miracle" anyone escaped the jet, which was carrying 73 passengers and five crew.

Flames were seen flaring from the rear of the Russian-built aircraft.

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It confirmed "malfunctions" on the plane were detected shortly after takeoff and the engines caught fire after landing but said this "was swiftly extinguished".

The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed "informed source" as saying the evacuation of the plane had been delayed by some passengers insisting on collecting their hand luggage first, Reuters reported.

The pilot of a Russian passenger plane that erupted in a ball of fire on the runway of Moscow's busiest airport, killing 41 people, said lightning led to the emergency landing.

While numerous 78 passengers and five crew managed to escape, an unconfirmed number of people are still unaccounted for.

Flight tracking site Flightradar24 showed the jet looping once in the air before landing.

"There were 78 people including crew members on board the plane".

The country's transport minister has said there is no reason to ground the fleet of Sukhoi aircraft, which is the leading civilian passenger jet developed in Russian Federation since the Soviet Union. "I do not know what to say about people who ran out with bags".

Aeroflot, Russia's national carrier, said the plane was forced to return to the airport "for technical reasons", but did not elaborate.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision was not within President Vladimir Putin's power.

The Murmansk region - where numerous casualties are believed to be from - will go into a three-day period of mourning beginning Monday.

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