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41 killed in Russian plane fire at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport

The Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot airlines is covered in fire retardant foam after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Scores of people died when the Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making the emergency landing at the airport Sunday evening, officials said. (Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

MOSCOW — Russian media have quoted the pilot of the airliner that burst into flames during an emergency landing in Moscow as saying the plane was without radio communications because of a lightning strike.

Pilot Denis Evdokimov was quoted as saying by Zvezda TV and the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that “because of lightning, we had a loss of radio communication.”

Storms were passing through the Moscow area as when the Aeroflot SSJ100 regional jet caught fire during the emergency landing, after it turned back for unspecified reasons en route to Murmansk. The plane made a hard landing and flames erupted.

Russia’s transportation minister says 41 bodies have been recovered from the burned wreckage of an Aeroflot plane at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

State TV quoted flight attendant Tatiana Kasatnika as saying “We took off, got into a cloud, there was strong hail, and at that moment there was a pop and some kind of flash, like electricity.”

Minister Yevgeny Dietrich also told reporters in a Monday briefing that six people who survived the disaster Sunday night have been hospitalized.

Russia’s Investigative Committee says the flight recorders from the plane have been recovered and that investigators are looking into inexperienced pilots, equipment failure and bad weather as possible causes for the disaster.