At Least 13 Killed After Russian Passenger Plane Catches Fire Mid-Air

By Reuters

MOSCOW—At least 13 people on board a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane were killed on Sunday when the plane caught fire mid-air and made an emergency landing at a Moscow airport on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported.

Television footage showed the Sukhoi Superjet-100 making an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport with much of the rear part of the plane engulfed in flames.

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

Medical workers told the TASS news agency at least 13 people had been killed and that others remained unaccounted for.

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In this image provided by Riccardo Dalla Francesca shows smoke rises from a fire on a plane at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on May 5, 2019. (Riccardo Dalla Francesca via AP)
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Smoke billows from a Sukhoi passenger plane after it made an emergency landing due to an onboard fire at Sheremetyevo International Airport, outside Moscow, Russia on May 5, 2019. (Twitter @Justin Goslin via Reuters)

Russian news agencies said the plane, which had been flying from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk before turning back, had been carrying 78 passengers. It was unclear how many crew had been on board.

Russian investigators said 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.

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This image taken from video provided by Instagram user @artempetrovich, shows the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia on May 5, 2019. (@artempetrovich via AP)

Aeroflot Flight SU1492 returned to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, making an emergency landing, news agency Interfax reported.

Interfax news agency reported that the tail was completely burned and said a rescue team was trying to find survivors in that part of the plane.

The plane was a one-year-old Sukhoi Superjet and requested an emergency landing shortly after take-off, due to the fire, according to Russian state media.

The plane had registration number RA-89098. Flightradar24 tracking service showed that it made two circles around Moscow and landed after about 45 minutes.

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This image taken from video and provided on the Twitter feed of Mikhail Norenko, shows smoke from a plane on fire at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on May 5, 2019. (Mikhail Norenko/Twitter via AP)

TV footage showed the plane landing with its tail ablaze. On the ground, black smoke billowed from the plane.

Videos circulating on social media show the plane engulfed in flames on the tarmac and people evacuating through emergency slides.

Aeroflot, the unofficial national airline of Russia, confirmed that the fire occurred but hasn’t said exactly how many people were injured.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.