Horrific video emerges of Aeroflot Superjet bursting into flames at Moscow airport

Investigators have released a dramatic video showing the moment a packed Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 burst into flames, killing 41 people, shortly after being struck by lightning.

Video of the 2019 incident was released on Thursday morning by Russian transport investigation authorities, who have now laid charges against the pilot. 

The crash happened at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow in May last year. 

The aircraft was struck by lightning shortly after departing Moscow for Murmansk, but returned immediately and made a 'jumping' landing at the airport.

The video shows the aircraft sliding sideways shortly after landing, before bursting into flames.  The first emergency slide is deployed 17 seconds after the explosion.

Burned wreckage of the Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100.
Burned wreckage of the Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100. Photo credit: Russian Investigative Committee

The Russian Investigative Committee has charged Captain Denis Evdokimov with violating safety rules and the negligent control of an airplane, leading to mass deaths, harm to health and major damage.

Evdokimov is fighting the charges, saying both lightning and the aircraft itself are to blame for the accident. 

"Investigators and experts studied the data of the flight recorders of the crashed aircraft, according to which during the flight the aircraft adequately responded to the pilot's control actions," the committee said a statement.

The captain's lawyer says Evdokimov, who is an experienced pilot, is being made a scapegoat to protect the reputation of the Russian made Superjet aircraft.

Safety concerns had previously been raised about the Superjet, which has only been landed manually by pilots four times according to the defence lawyer.

The captain said the Superjet didn't respond to his attempts to control the aircraft manually after the lightning strike.

Evdokimov faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.