At least 41 people died after a Russian Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet plane made an emergency landing due to fire on board in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, investigators said in a statement.
“There were 78 people on board, including crew members,” the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website.
“According to updated information, 37 out of them survived.”
Earlier on Sunday, the investigators said 13 people had been killed in the plane crash.
Television footage showed the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash bouncing along the tarmac at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before the rear part of the plane suddenly bursts into flames. Many passengers on board SU 1492 then escaped via the plane’s emergency slides that inflated after the hard landing.
The plane, which had been flying from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk, had been carrying 73 passengers and five crew members, Russia’s aviation watchdog said. TASS said some people on board remained unaccounted for.
Earlier on Sunday, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said it was investigating the case and confirmed reports by Russian news agencies that 13 people were killed in the burning plane, including two children.
No official cause was yet been given for the incident although some surviving passengers spoke of a lightning strike.
“We took off and then lightning struck the plane,” the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily cited one surviving passenger, Pyotr Egorov, as saying.
“The plane turned back and there was a hard landing. We were so scared we almost lost consciousness. The plane jumped down the landing strip like a grasshopper and then caught fire on the ground.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was looking into whether the pilots had breached air safety rules.
“Soon, investigators will begin interviewing victims, eyewitnesses, airport staff and the airline carrier, as well as other persons responsible for the operation of the aircraft. Required technical documentation will be examined,” the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said.
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed their condolences and ordered investigators to establish what had happened.
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.
Russian news agencies reported that some passengers had been injured, some of them seriously, and were being treated in local hospitals.
A rescue team was combing through the charred wreckage of the rear of the plane on Sunday evening looking for survivors, the Interfax news agency reported.
Aeroflot said in a statement that the company had activated its crisis response team.
The plane had registration number RA-89098. Flightradar24 tracking service showed that it made two circles around Moscow and landed after about 45 minutes.