Investigators List 3 Possible Reasons for Deadly Superjet-100 Fire in Moscow

Passenger plane with fire on board lands at Moscow airport

Passenger plane with fire on board lands at Moscow airport

Investigators were working to understand the causes of the blaze after the Sukhoi Superjet-100 had to return to Sheremetyevo airport shortly after take-off yesterday evening.

"Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko" said: Investigators soon will begin interviewing victims, eyewitnesses, airport staff and the airline carrier, as well as other persons responsible for the operation of the aircraft".

The committee said the flight was headed to the north-west Russian city of Murmansk. The authorities of Russia's Murmansk region have declared three days of mourning after a plane crash at Sheremetyevo airport, in which 41 people died.

A commission has been created to probe the cause and circumstances of the accident. Video of the aircraft shows it engulfed in large flames as it touched down at the airport. Once the plane had come to a halt, passengers used the plane's emergency slides from its two forward doors to exit the plane, before running away from the burning aircraft. It made hard landing and flames erupted.

Two children are among the dead, according to the committee.

One passenger said the plane had been hit by lightning, a Russian news outlet reported.

The pilot said he was not certain why the plane landed hard.

Interfax, citing an anonymous source, said the plane had landed with its fuel tanks full because, having lost contact with air traffic controllers, it was too unsafe to dump its fuel tanks over Moscow.

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Yevdokimov did not specify if the plane was struck by lightning directly, but storms were passing through the Moscow area when the plane made its emergency landing.

Video showed passengers jumping from the wreckage to an inflatable slide with people clinging to their luggage as emergency vehicles raced toward the crash site.

"I do not know what to say about people who ran out with bags", Mr Savchenko said in a translated post on Facebook.

Russia's main investigative body said both of the plane's flight recorders - data and voice - have been recovered.

Miss Kasatkina said she saw an "electric flash" before being informed that the flight would be making an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed their condolences and ordered investigators to establish what had happened.

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

The crash-landing on Sunday is the latest serious setback for the plane, the first new passenger jet developed in Russian Federation since the fall of the Soviet Union, and threatens to undermine confidence in an airliner Moscow touts as proof it can produce its own high quality civil passenger aircraft.

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