At least five occupants of a Russian-operated Antonov An-24 have been killed after it ditched on the River Ob during a domestic flight.

Russia's Angara Airlines, which was operating the services, stated that the aircraft suffered a fire in its left engine prior to attempting an "emergency landing on water".

Video images captured of the aircraft descending towards the river clearly show flames on the left side.

It had been operating as flight IK9007 between Tomsk and Surgut but came down at Strezhevoy, 63km east of Nizhnevartovsk, itself 120km east of Surgut.

Angara Airlines said the fire occurred at 04:54UTC while the ditching took place about 15min later, at 05:10.

"The decision to ditch was taken because the left engine caught fire during flight," said the carrier.

 Angara An-24
 © Rex Features

It said there were 33 passengers and four crew members - two pilots, an engineer and flight attendant - on board the twin-engined aircraft.

Twenty of those on board have been taken to hospital and four are in serious condition, added the carrier.

Angara added that it was trying to establish further details on possible casualties.

Russia's emergency situations ministry stated that the aircraft did not catch fire but broke into three sections, coming to rest on a sand bank in shallow water.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news