The plane was carrying 78 people, including five crew members

By Caitlin Keating
May 06, 2019 04:01 PM
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Credit: Russian Investigative Committee/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

An American was among the 41 people killed in a Russian plane crash on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

The Aeroflot Superjet 100 — carrying 78 people, including five crew members, from Moscow to Murmansk — experienced an emergency that forced its return to the Moscow airport where it crash-landed and caught fire, according to CNN.

The airline confirmed that flight SU1492 “suffered an engine fire upon landing after being forced to return to Sheremetyevo International Airport due to technical reasons.”

“The aircraft was evacuated in 55 seconds, compared to the industry norm of 90 seconds,” said Aeroflot, which said the captain was the last person to leave the burning airplane.

The fire was then extinguished and medical assistance was provided to those injured in the incident.

The BBC reports that passengers and crew members — who left the aircraft through the emergency exits — say the plane was struck by lightning.

Passenger Pyotr Yegorov told the BBC that the flight “had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning,” but no official cause for the accident has been announced.

After taking off after 6 p.m. local time, the flight proceeded for about 30 minutes and then looped around to make its return to the Moscow airport, CNN reported, citing Flightradar24.

“The landing was rough — I almost passed out from fear,” said Yegorov.

Video of the incident shows the plane hitting the runway, causing it to go back into the air. The aircraft then hit the runway again and burst into flames.

“I’m alive only thanks to the stewardesses,” passenger Dmitry Khlebushkin told reporters, according to the BBC. “The girls stood there in the smoke, it was dark, extremely hot, but they pulled people out and helped them get down the chutes.”

The airline published names of 33 victims from the crash on its website, which it said will be “updated as new information becomes available.”

“Aeroflot extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives on flight SU1492 Moscow-Murmansk,” they wrote. “The crew did everything in its power to save passenger lives and provide emergency assistance to those involved. Tragically, they were unable to save all of those aboard.”