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Passenger jet makes hard landing in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, catches fire

Passenger jet makes hard landing in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, catches fire

The airport said the Sukhoi SSJ100 operated by Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot caught fire when it made a hard emergency landing on Sunday (Monday NZT).

The airport said the aircraft had 73 passengers and five crew members on board.

Aeroflot Flight SU1492 returned to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, making an emergency landing, news agency Interfax reported.

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

In place of emergency, investigators of the Russian Investigative Committee are working at the scene of the accident.

Passengers evacuated using emergency slides, the video shows.

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

Dramatic footage shared on social media showed Aeroflot's Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, land at Sheremetyevo worldwide airport, flames and black smoke pouring from its fuselage.

The Interfax news agency reports the crew issued a distress signal shortly after departure from Sheremetyevo airport.

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Investigators and the airport said the plane had taken off for the northern city of Murmansk, but turned back because of unspecified technical problems.

According to the play-back of the flightradar data, made by Bloger51 in Murmansk, the plane was in the air for 27 minutes.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

It reported that the tail was completely burned and said a rescue team was trying to find survivors in that part of the plane.

Reports suggest it did not succeed in its first emergency landing attempt.

Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into the incident, it said on its website.

A passenger called mikkentosh posted: "Guys I am all right, I am alive and in one piece".

The airport has continued to operate, though at least half a dozen flights have been diverted to other airports or cancelled.