Russian investigators have identified the Dagestan Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft which broke up after leaving the runway during an emergency landing at Moscow today.

The aircraft, registered RA-85744, suffered extensive damage in the accident, its cockpit and vertical fin shearing off. It also sustained damage to its wings and undercarriage.

It was operating flight 372 on the route between Moscow Vnukovo and Makhachkala in Dagestan.

"After take-off from Vnukovo Airport a serial failure of all three engines occurred on the aircraft," says the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK).

The 18-year old tri-jet, powered by Soloviev D-30KU engines, attempted to return to Moscow and conduct a landing at the city's Domodedovo Airport.

"When it performed the emergency landing at Domodedovo the aircraft skidded off the runway," says MAK. The airport had been experiencing freezing weather conditions at the time.

MAK states that two passengers were killed in the accident. Russia's emergency situations ministry says there were 169 occupants of the aircraft including nine crew members. It confirms the two fatalities and says 78 sustained various injuries.

Dagestan Airlines has adopted the brand 'South East Airlines' and the aircraft which crashed at Moscow today carried this livery.

MAK says it has formed a commission to investigate the accident and opened an inquiry.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news