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Scores of people dead in Russian passenger plane fire

This handout grab of a video obtained from the Instagram account of Mikhail Norenko on May 5, 2019, shows a fire of a Russian-made Superjet-100 at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. (Photo by AFP)

At least 40 have died after a Russian plane caught fire during an emergency landing at Moscow's busiest airport as flames and thick black smoke poured from the fuselage, Russian news agencies reported.

Only "37 out of 78 survived" the Superjet-100 crash-landing and fire, RT quoted investigators as saying.

Leaked security camera footage shows the ill-fated landing attempt of Sukhoi Superjet-100 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. The jet bounces and then smacks into the tarmac, rupturing its undercarriage and bursting into a fireball.

The alleged footage of the crash-landing was captured by an airport security video camera and uploaded to Telegram channel Baza. It shows the aircraft attempting to land at speed, but then bouncing off the runway. Another touchdown attempt is made seconds later, but the plane’s undercarriage apparently collapses, smashing its engines and triggering a massive fireball.

In the videos, passengers could be seen leaping onto an inflatable slide at the front and running from the blazing plane as huge black columns of smoke billowed into the sky.

The Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet-100 carrying 73 passengers and five crew members had just left Sheremetyevo, on a domestic route, when the crew issued a distress signal, officials said.

Data from tracking website Flightradar24 indicates the emergency happened around 30 minutes after take-off.

"It attempted an emergency landing but did not succeed the first time, and on the second time the landing gear hit (the ground), then the nose did, and it caught fire," a source told Interfax news agency.

According to the Ria Novosti news agency, the plane had been headed to the far northwest city of Murmansk in Russia. It said initial findings suggested an electrical fault might have caused the blaze.

Investigators have opened a criminal probe into a possible breach of security rules.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also ordered a special committee to investigate the disaster, Ria Novosti agency reported.

Several flights have been diverted to other Moscow airports or Nizhny Novgorod, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of the Russian capital.

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