Sindhsamaachar Monitoring Desk
Moscow: At least 13 people were killed after a Russian plane caught fire mid-air before making an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. Videos on social media show passengers using emergency exit slides to escape the burning Aeroflot aircraft. Two children and a flight attendant were among the dead, Russian media reports. One witness though said it was a “miracle” anyone escaped the jet, which was reportedly carrying 78 passengers. It remains unclear what caused the large blaze and emergency landing. The aircraft is reportedly a Sukhoi Superjet-100, and was scheduled to depart at 17:50 local time (14:50 GMT) for the city of Murmansk.
The crew issued a distress signal shortly after departure, Interfax reports. Reports also suggest it did not succeed in its first emergency landing attempt. Data from tracking website Flightradar24 appears to confirm reports the emergency landing happened about 30 minutes after take-off. Aeroflot, Russia’s national carrier, said the plane was forced to return to the airport “for technical reasons”, but did not elaborate. Mikhail Savchenko claims he was on the plane when it exploded into a fireball on the tarmac but “managed to jump out”. He shared a video of passengers running away from the burning plane, posting: “‘Guys I am all right, I am alive and in one piece.”
Kristian Kostov, a former Bulgarian Eurovision contestant, has posted on social media about witnessing the incident. He said people at the airport were left “shaking” after seeing the aircraft engulfed by fire and said other flights are now unable to take-off. Another eyewitness, Patrick Horlacher, told the BBC it was “shocking to see” the plane being ravaged by flames just minutes before he was due to board his flight.
An investigation has been opened into the incident, reports say. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly been briefed and expressed condolences to the families of victims.
Curtsy Khaleej Times