Passengers and crew on board a jet that was forced to make an emergency landing at a Moscow airport say it was struck by lightning moments before it crashed.
Reports of the strike came as survivors told how they escaped the Aeroflot jet which burst into flames on landing at Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday.
Forty-one of the 78 people on board were killed in the accident.
Investigators probing the cause of the crash have made no official comment on the claims it was hit by lightning.
Modern aircraft are built to withstand lightning strikes, and Russia’s national carrier has said only that the plane returned to the airport for “technical reasons”.
However passengers said the plane, which was heading for the northern Russian city of Murmansk, was struck just after take-off.
Pilot Denis Yevdokimov told Russian media that the lightning had interrupted communication with air traffic controllers and forced him to switch to emergency manual mode.