MOSCOW: A Russian passenger plane ran off an airport runway outside Russia’s southern city of Sochi early on Saturday and caught fire injuring 18 people, officials and state media reported.
Russia’s Healthcare Ministry said 18 people were injured but said there were no fatalities. State news agency RIA said one Sochi airport staff member died during the clean-up operations.
Utair’s Boeing 737-800, carrying 164 passengers and six crew members from Moscow to Sochi, did not brake in time after landing, RIA reported, citing local emergency services.
The aircraft had landed in heavy rain and with a strong tail wind, Russian civil aviation official Oleg Smirnov told state television channel Rossiya24, which showed images of the aircraft with damaged engines and wings.
Sochi airport said on its website that the aircraft fire that erupted was extinguished in eight minutes and all those on board were evacuated within 17 minutes.
Russian flight safety watchdog will conduct an assessment of Sochi airport and Utair, Rossiya24 channel reported.
Safety concerns have plagued Russia’s airline industry as it has witnessed multiple fatal crashes in recent years.
In June, a Utair plane carrying Peruvian soccer fans from the World Cup city of Ekaterinburg to Tyumen in Siberia had to land due to an engine failure that caused the cabin to fill with smoke.