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Moscow plane fire: Death toll from fiery Aeroflot emergency landing rises

Moscow airport fire

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.

People waiting inside the terminal were able to see the emergency landing and ensuing fire.

Earlier, the Russian Investigative Committee said that 13 died in the accident and an unnamed number had been injured.

An emergency service auto is parked at the entrance of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.

A Russian passenger plane has made an emergency landing at Moscow airport after a fire broke out on board, state media report.

An investigation has been opened into the incident by the Russia's Investigative Committee.

While miraculously most occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft via both front door emergency slides, passengers slowed the process by insisting on taking their carry-on bags off with them.

The tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted one passenger, Petr Egorov, who said: "We had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning".

(Riccardo Dalla Francesca via AP) Smoke billows from a Sukhoi passenger plane after it made an emergency landing due to an onboard fire at Sheremetyevo International Airport, outside Moscow, Russia on May 5, 2019.

Television footage showed the Sukhoi Superjet-100 making an emergency landing at the airport with much of the rear part of the plane engulfed in flames.

The Interfax news agency reports the crew issued a distress signal shortly after departure from Sheremetyevo airport. A source told RIA that the fire was caused by "a malfunction of electrical equipment".

Aeroflot said the plane had been forced to turn back after takeoff because of technical problems. Others said the plane made a hard landing that could have caused the engines to catch fire.

Some news reports cited sources as saying the plane bounced several times during the landing.

Russian officials said on Sunday it was premature to talk of grounding the Sukhoi Superjet for now.

Kristian Kostov, a former Bulgarian Eurovision contestant, wrote that he witnessed the fire, according to the BBC.