Russia probes pilot error after plane blaze

AFP-Jiji MOSCOW (AFP-Jiji) — Russian investigators were on Tuesday considering pilot error as the cause of a crash-landing that saw a plane erupt in flames at Moscow’s busiest airport and kill 41 people, media reported.

The first fire engine arrived at the scene only two minutes after the plane landed and burst into flames, the airport said Tuesday.

Russian television channel Ren TV posted what it said was the conversation between the pilots and air traffic control which showed that the pilot remained calm as he requested an emergency landing and did not assess the situation as critical.

The Sukhoi Superjet-100 had just flown out of Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday evening when it sent out an emergency signal and circled back, bounced on the runway and caught fire.

Sources in the investigation told Kommersant newspaper the Aeroflot pilots made a number of errors including flying into a thunderstorm and landing with a full tank rather than circling to use up fuel.

Various sources told the business daily RBK the pilots opened a cockpit window, potentially fanning the flames, and failed to turn off engines immediately after landing.

Investigators are still examining the black boxes from the plane and have so far given no official reason for the crash.Speech

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