Moscow: At least 41 people were killed on Sunday evening (May 5) when a Russian passenger jet made an emergency landing at the Moscow airport. The jet went up in flames sending thick plumes of smoke.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said 40 passengers and one crew member have lost their lives. There were 78 people on Sukhoi SSJ100 operated by national airline Aeroflot.

Videos emerged where passengers could be seen escaping from the aircraft on exit slides, while travellers inside the Sheremetyevo airport looked on in disbelief.


Aeroflot Flight 1492 took off from Moscow bound for Murmansk, a port city in northern Russia. Immediately after takeoff, the pilots radioed a distress call and the plane circled back for an emergency landing. Reports said the cockpit crew stopped responding by radio after reporting the emergency.

Flightradar24, which tracks transponders on airplanes, showed the jet looping once in the air before landing. Russian news agencies said the pilots landed on their second attempt.

The plane caught fire after landing. A video showed that the aircraft was not burning on its final approach. It bounced on touchdown and caught fire as it struck the runway a second time.

Then the plane skidded along the runway with its nose angled upward, the engines scraping the ground and flames streaking out behind.

Later, flames were seen spreading on the pavement, suggesting that fuel was leaking and burning. Fire crews sprayed the plane from trucks.

Dozens of people witnessed the crash from inside the terminal, where waiting areas and restaurants offer views of the runways.

Safety concerns with the Sukhoi Superjet, Russia’s first newly designed post-Soviet passenger plane, emerged soon after its introduction in 2008.

Dozens of employees at the Siberia plant were found to have faked their university engineering diplomas.

Aeroflot, the Russian national airline, has worked hard to overcome its once-poor safety image. Safety woes shadowed the company in the immediate post-Soviet period.

Recently, however, the airline has operated one of Europe’s newest fleets of passenger jets.