Russia says at least 40 dead on burning jet

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian officials have given out conflicting numbers on a fiery airline accident at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, but they indicate at least 40 people died.

Elena Markovskaya, a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigative Committee, said at a briefing early Monday that 41 people died in the accident Sunday evening and 37 people survived.

But Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said later that 38 people survived, though without giving a death toll.

The fire aboard the Sukhoi SSJ100 regional jet flown by Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot broke out after the plane made a hard emergency landing. Video on Russian television shows fire bursting from the plane's underside as it landed.

The plane had taken off from the airport bound for Murmansk, but turned back after encountering unspecified problems in the air.

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12:45 a.m.

A fiery airliner accident at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport killed 41 people, a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigative Committee says.

The death toll from Sunday evening's accident was announced at a briefing early Monday by committee spokeswoman Elena Markovskaya, who said 37 people survived.

The fire aboard the Sukhoi SSJ100 regional jet flown by Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot broke out after the plane made a hard emergency landing.

Video on Russian television shows fire bursting from the plane's underside as it landed. The plane had taken off from the airport bound for Murmansk, but turned back after encountering unspecified problems in the air.

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9:40 p.m.

Russia's Investigative Committee says 13 people have died in a fire on an airplane that made an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

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

Video of the landing showed flames and smoke billowing from the rear of the plane.

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

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

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9:00 p.m.

Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot says a passenger plane that was in flames after an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport had been forced to turn back after takeoff because of technical problems.

Aeroflot said in a brief statement Sunday the engines of the Sukhoi SSJ100 were burning after the aircraft landed, but the sequence of events before and after the fire started was not clear.

Some Russian news reports cited sources as saying the plane headed back to the airport after a fire was detected in flight. Others said the plane made a hard landing that could have caused the engines to catch fire.

The Aeroflot statement did not specify what caused the plane to return to Sheremetyevo Airport.