MOSCOW - At least 40 people were killed as a result of a fiery crash landing of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 passenger plane at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday.
According to Russian media, the aircraft was operated by Russian airline Aeroflot and was carrying 73 passengers and 5 crew members. Two teenagers and at least one member of the crew were among the dead, the Investigative Committee of Russia said.
The plane departed Moscow airport at 18:03 local time (11:03 EDT) for the northern city of Murmansk. Shortly after takeoff, the crew sent a distress signal to air traffic control, saying the plane had some technical issues and required an emergency landing.
On the second landing attempt, the plane’s engines caught on fire as the wheels touched ground, media reports said.
Passengers were evacuated through emergency slides.
People waiting inside the terminal were able to see the emergency landing and ensuing fire.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal investigation into the incident, although the reason for the crash is not yet known.
Sheremetyevo Airport was closed for a short period of time as a result of the accident. All inbound flights were forced into holding patterns and some diverted to other Moscow airports.
The Associated Press reported that Sunday's incident was the second fatal crash for the Sukhoi Superjet. In 2012, an SSJ100, on a demonstration flight in Indonesia, crashed into a mountain, killing all 45 aboard, the AP reported.