Sukhoi passenger jet catches fire, makes crash landing in Moscow

The plane can be seen burning at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday

According to the Ria Novosti news agency, the plane had been headed to the far northwest city of Murmansk in Russian Federation.

"There were 78 people including crew members on board the plane", the Investigative Committee said in a statement, adding it had headed to the northwest Russian city of Murmansk.

People waiting inside the terminal were able to see the emergency landing and ensuing fire.

Another 11 people were injured, Dmitry Matveyev, the Moscow region's health minister said earlier in the day.

Emergency services set up an operation center at the airport, and a reception point for relatives of the victims.

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At least 40 people died when an Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport Sunday evening, officials said.

The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed "informed source" as saying the evacuation of the plane had been delayed by some passengers insisting on collecting their hand luggage first.

"We took off and then lightning struck the plane", the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily cited one surviving passenger, Pyotr Egorov, as saying.

The fire aboard the Sukhoi SSJ100 regional jet flown by Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot broke out after the plane made a hard emergency landing.

The plane had 73 passengers and five crew memberson board, according to TASS.

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Video footage showed the Aeroflot Sukoi Superjet bouncing on the tarmac at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport as flames and billowing black smoke poured from the rear of the aircraft.

It is not known what caused the blaze to start and a full investigation into the events has been launched.

This is likely what may have caused the deaths of passengers at the back of the plane.

Several reports have suggested that the plane made two attempts to crash land after the first was unsuccessful.

Investigators have opened a criminal probe into a possible breach of security rules.

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Kristian Kostov, a former Bulgarian Eurovision contestant, wrote that he witnessed the fire, according to the BBC.

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