Its fuselage engulfed in flames, a Sukhoi SSJ100 Superjet belonging to Russian national airline Aeroflot made a horrific landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport Sunday, killing 41 out of 78 passengers and five crew on board. Two children are among the dead.
Superjet 100 Flight SU1492 scheduled to fly from Moscow to the northwestern Russian city Murmansk suffered an engine fire while airborne and was forced to return to Sheremetyevo because of technical issues, said Aeroflot. No details on those issues were released, however.
It was Aeroflot's deadliest accident since Sept. 14, 2008 when Aeroflot Flight 821 crashed on approach to Perm Airport, Russia due to pilot error. All 88 passengers, including 6 crew members, were killed in the crash.
Social media video shows the Sukhoi in flames as it roared down the runway. After the blazing plane stops, some passengers leap onto inflatable escape slides and stagger away from the raging flames, some toting their luggage. Some Russian news reports said the plane bounced several times during the landing.
"We were sitting really close to the plane, which was completely on fire," said Boris Kuznetsov, a correspondent for the Russian news website RT who was on a nearby plane and saw the landing. "The flames were huge. It was very difficult for the emergency services to tackle the blaze."
Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline, said the fire was quickly extinguished. It said passengers were able to exit the aircraft via the emergency exits. Medical assistance was immediately provided to those injured.
"An investigation has been launched into the incident, and Aeroflot has activated its crisis response team," said an Aeroflot statement.
Aeroflot said an Investigative Committee launched a criminal inquiry to determine if any aircraft operation safety rules were violated. Such an investigation is standard in crashes that claim the lives of two or more people. The company said the plane came off the assembly line in August 2017 and received scheduled maintenance about a month ago.
Elena Markovskaya, a spokeswoman for the committee, said early Monday that 41 people were killed. On the other hand, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova later said that 38 survived, implying the death toll was 40.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.