Russia plane crash: Flight recorders recovered by investigators

Russia’s main investigative body on Monday said both flight recorders had been recovered from the Sukhoi passenger plane that caught fire while making an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. At least 41 people, including two children, lost their lives.

The Sukhoi SSJ100 turned back to Moscow during a flight to Murmansk for unspecified reasons. Video on Russian television showed fire bursting from the plane’s underside as it landed.

Despite the incident, Russia’s Transport Minister Yevgeny Dietrich said Russia saw no reason to ground its domestic-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.

Dietrich told reporters that 33 passengers and four crew members survived, while six of the survivors are in serious condition and receiving treatment.

Cause of fire unknown

Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that investigators are looking into inexperienced pilots, equipment failure and bad weather as possible causes for the disaster.

“Investigators have obtained the voice and parametric flight recorders, and collected fuel samples … and recordings from surveillance cameras,” the Investigative Committee said.

Russian state media reported that a lightning bolt appeared to strike the aircraft before the crash landing. Moscow was experiencing stormy weather at the time of the incident.

Russian media have also quoted the pilot of the plane as saying lightning caused the emergency landing, after a lightning strike caused the plane to lose its radio communications.

The aircraft involved in the incident had been in service since 2017 and was last inspected in April, state news agency TASS reported, citing aviation authorities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the victims’ loved ones and said the investigation “should be as thorough as possible,” according to the Kremlin.

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