The Latest: Russian pilot says plane was struck by lightning

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft of Airflot Airlines, center, is seen after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
A relative of victims reacts as she leaves a place where others are gathered at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. At least 40 people died when an Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, officials said early Monday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
In this photo taken on Sunday, May 5, 2019, Dmitry Khlebushkin, one of the survivors of Aeroflot Flight RA-89098 to Murmansk speaks to journalists at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, Russia. Scores of people died when the Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making the emergency landing at the airport Sunday evening, officials said. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A relative of a victim reacts as she leaves a place where others are gathered at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. At least 40 people died when an Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, officials said early Monday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot airlines is covered in fire retardant foam after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Scores of people died when the Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making the emergency landing at the airport Sunday evening, officials said. (Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
The Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines, center in the background, is seen after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 6, 2019. Scores of people died when the Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making the emergency landing at the airport Sunday evening, officials said. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines is covered in fire retardant foam after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Over a dozen people died Sunday in a fiery airplane accident at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee said. (Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
People wait at Sheremetyevo International Airport in an area where others are gathered for news about passengers aboard an Aeroflot airliner that burst into flames while making an emergency landing at the airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines, center in the background, is seen after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 6, 2019. Scores of people died when the Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making the emergency landing at the airport Sunday evening, officials said. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
This image taken from video provided by Instagram user @artempetrovich, shows the SSJ-100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines on fire during an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (@artempetrovich via AP)
Emergency service vehicles are parked at the entrance of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot says the plane that caught fire at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, killing at least one person, had been forced to turn back after taking off for the city of Murmansk because of technical reasons. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines is covered in fire retardant foam after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Over a dozen people died Sunday in a fiery airplane accident at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee said. (Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
This photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Investigative Committee on Monday, May 6, 2019, the wreckage of Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines is seen in Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia. At least 40 people died when an Aeroflot airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, officials said early Monday. (The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation via AP, File)

MOSCOW — The Latest on the deadly plane fire at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

Russian media have quoted the pilot of the airliner that burst into flames during an emergency landing in Moscow as saying the plane was without radio communications because of a lightning strike.

Sunday's fire killed 41 of the 78 people aboard the Aeroflot plane.

The plane had taken off for Murmansk in stormy weather, but quickly turned back for an emergency landing. The plane made a hard landing and flames erupted.

Pilot Denis Evdokimov was quoted as saying by Zvezda TV and the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that "because of lightning, we had a loss of radio communication."

State TV quoted flight attendant Tatiana Kasatnika as saying "We took off, got into a cloud, there was strong hail, and at that moment there was a pop and some kind of flash, like electricity."

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12:05 p.m.

Russia's transportation minister says 41 bodies have been recovered from the burned wreckage of an Aeroflot plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

Minister Yevgeny Dietrich also told reporters in a Monday briefing that six people who survived the disaster Sunday night have been hospitalized.

The plane, a Sukhoi SSJ100, caught fire while making an emergency landing at the airport, after turning back on a flight to Murmansk for unspecified reasons.

Russia's Investigative Committee says the flight recorders from the plane have been recovered and that investigators are looking into inexperienced pilots, equipment failure and bad weather as possible causes for the disaster.

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11:50 a.m.

Russia's main investigative body says both flight recorders have been recovered from the plane that caught fire while making an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, killing at least 40 people.

Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko was also quoted by Russian news agencies on Monday as saying investigators are looking into three main possibilities behind the cause of the disaster: insufficient pilot qualifications, equipment failure and weather.

Video on Russian TV showed the plane's underside bursting into flames and spewing black smoke after making a hard landing Sunday night. Those who escaped leapt out of the plane down inflatable emergency slides and ran across the tarmac.

Storms were passing through the Moscow area as when the Aeroflot SSJ100 regional jet caught fire during the emergency landing, after it turned back for unspecified reasons en route to Murmansk.

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