Investigation underway to find out cause of fire that claimed 41 lives at Moscow airport
President Xi Jinping extended condolences to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday over the victims of a fire on a passenger plane on Sunday in Moscow.
The landing plane was engulfed in flames, leaving at least 41 dead on Sunday at Sheremetyevo Airport.
Xi said in his message that he was shocked that the plane burst into flames as it made an emergency landing at She-remetyevo Airport in Moscow, which led to major casualties.
On behalf of the Chinese government, the Chinese people and himself, Xi extended deep condolences to the victims and his sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured.
Also on Monday, Premier Li Ke-qiang sent a condolence message to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over the accident.
The aircraft, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 from Aeroflot Russian Airlines, was bound from Moscow for Murmansk in Russia's far north.
It made an emergency landing at the airport shortly after takeoff with 73 passengers and five crew members aboard.
The aircraft circled before making a hard landing back at the airport after the crew issued a mayday alert.
As seen in CCTV footage, the plane touched down hard and skidded along the runway, spewing out plumes of black smoke and nearly completely afire. The plane's undercarriage collapsed as it slowed to a halt on the tarmac.
Yelena Markovskaya, spokeswoman for the Moscow interregional transport investigation department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, said on Monday that 37 people survived, including four crew members.
She added that 28 passengers are now in the airport terminal, and five have been taken to a hospital.
A group of experts trained in providing psychological assistance to survivors and relatives of victims has been sent to the airport.
President Putin has offered his condolences over the incident.
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin has ordered "the most thorough investigation" to find out the cause of the disaster.
According to Russia's ITAR-Tass News Agency, a criminal case was opened after the incident on charges of violating flight safety rules.
Markovskaya said a commission headed by Russian Transport Minister Yevgeny Dietrich is working at Sheremetyevo.
Authorities in the Murmansk region have declared a three-day period of mourning. Andrei Chibis, the region's acting governor, announced the mourning period on Facebook.