Plane tragedy as a Russian-made Sukhoi passenger jet made an emergency landing on Sunday, trailing a gigantic plume of flame and black smoke after skidding to a stop on fire and with only its nose-wheel in view of passengers waiting to board flights at Moscow’s main airport.
The fiery landing killed 13 people, according to Tass, a Russian state news agency.
“Amazing,” one man can be heard saying on one of many videos filmed from inside Sheremetyevo airport and posted on social media.
RIA, another state news agency, initially reported that all 78 passengers evacuated on escape slides, with six people were injured. Interfax, another Russian news agency, reported 10 injuries. The reports of deaths began to emerge later.
Videos showed passengers running over the tarmac, away from the burning plane.
The flight by Aeroflot, the Russian national airline, took off from Moscow bound for Murmansk, a port city in northern Russia. The pilots radioed a distress call immediately after takeoff, Interfax reported, and the plane circled back for an emergency landing.
Flightradar24, a site that 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.
Interfax said the cockpit crew stopped responding by radio after reporting the emergency. It was not clear whether the plane caught fire in the air or while landing.
Videos showed the plane skidding along the runway with its nose angled upward, the engines scraping the ground and flames streaking out behind.
Later scenes showed flames spreading on the pavement, suggesting that fuel was leaking and burning. Fire crews sprayed the plane from trucks.
Safety concerns with the Sukhoi Superjet, Russia’s first newly designed post-Soviet passenger plane, emerged soon after its introduction in 2008.