(eTN) – Russian commercial airliner carrying 124 people caught fire and then exploded, as it taxied down a runway in Surgut airport in Siberia. According to the initial official reports, 3 people were killed and 43 injured, including six who were badly burned.
ITAR-TASS news agency reports that the Surgut airport remains closed because of the explosion, but airport officials state that “airport is functioning normally, despite the accident.”
Rosaviatsiya confirms that the burnt aircraft was indeed Kogalymavia’s Tu-154(M) and not Tu-134, as previously reported. There were 116 passengers and 8 crew members onboard the aircraft. Earlier reports indicated that one person perished, his body badly burnt. But the information about the number of victims still remains unclear, ranging from 4 killed (SKP) to 10 or 12 killed (MChS (emergency and disaster relief ministry) and law-enforcement agencies). Rosaviatsiya agency reports the number of victims as “few.”
Rosaviatsiya also confirms that the fire onboard of Tu-154[M] occurred as the plane taxied down the runway and not when the jet was airborne, as previously reported. Local and Federal officials are investigating the accident. RIA news reports that the source in the technical services of the Surgut airport reported that the foreign object could have started the fire in the plane’s turbine. Also it is possible that turbine itself was defective. RIA adds that the aircraft was completely destroyed by fire.