At least 41 people including 2 children on board a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane were killed when it caught fire while making an emergency landing at a Moscow airport on Sunday.
Dramatic footage that went viral on social media showed Aeroflot’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft crash-landing and then speeding along the runway at Sheremetyevo International airport, flames pouring from its fuselage.
The harrowing video showed passengers leaping from the front of the burning plane onto an inflatable slide and staggering across tarmac and grass.
“There are 37 survivors – 33 passengers and four members of the crew,” said Yelena Markovskaya, an official involved in the investigation of the crash.
The Sukhoi aircraft, which had been flying from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk before turning back, was carrying 73 passengers and five crew members.
“After the take-off, the crew reported an anomaly and decided to come back to the departure airport. At 6:30 pm, the aircraft made an emergency landing,” the airport said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the victims’ loved ones and said the investigation “should be as thorough as possible”, according to the Kremlin.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered a special committee to investigate the disaster.
The Murmansk region -where many of the casualties are believed to be from – will go into a three-day period of mourning beginning Monday.