Forty-one people were killed and at least nine were injured when a Russian Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet plane made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday due to fire on board.
The plane, a one-year-old Sukhoi Superjet, departed from Sheremetyevo for Murmansk but shortly after taking off requested an emergency landing after experiencing equipment failures due to being struck by lightning, Interfax cited a source as saying.
The plane bounced off the runway four times during landing. After the fourth landing, the plane’s landing gear collapsed and the tail caught fire.
Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed that 41 out of 78 passengers, who had been headed from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk, were killed.
One of the passengers killed was U.S. citizen Jeremy Brooks, the state-run TASS news agency reported.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Russia confirmed to The Moscow Times that one U.S. citizen died in the crash. The embassy is in contact with Russian authorities as the investigation progresses, the spokesperson added.
Nine passengers were taken to the hospital, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a Health Ministry source as saying.
Interfax reported that the tail was completely burned and a rescue team had tried to find survivors in that part of the plane.
TV footage showed a plane landing with its tail ablaze. On the ground, black smoke billowed from the plane.
The plane had the registration number RA-89098. The Flightradar24 tracking service showed that it made two circles around Moscow and landed after about 45 minutes.
Emergency workers have recovered two of the plane’s black boxes, the RBC news website reported on Monday.
The Investigative Committee opened a case into safety violations that led to the deaths and listed potential causes including insufficient qualifications of pilots and crew; technical malfunctions; and poor weather conditions.
This story is being updated.
Reuters contributed reporting to this article.