Passengers and crew of the ill fated Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet-100 claim it was struck by lightning, shortly after takeoff.
The Russian passenger jet burst into flames while making an emergency landing at a Moscow airport, claiming the lives of at least 41 people onboard.
However the cause of this dramatic fire has yet to be uncovered.
The plane was forced to return to Moscow, just 30 minutes into a flight to the northern city of Murmansk. The national carrier cited "technical reasons" for the reroute but has not elaborated.
While investigators have said they are exploring all factors surrounding the flight, passengers and pilots have claimed the flight was hit by lightning shortly after takeoff.
While there has been no official comment on whether the plane was struck by lighting, several passengers and a pilot have all corroborated the event in a report by the BBC.
Pilot Denis Yevdokimov told media that an electrical storm had interrupted communication between the plane and traffic control, forcing the plane to navigate by emergency manual settings.
Passenger Petr Egorov claimed the flight "had just taken off and the aircraft was hit by lightning", adding: "The landing was rough - I almost passed out from fear.
The horrific event was in full sight of airport departures.
Waiting passenger Patrick Horlacher told the BBC it was "shocking to see" just as he was due to board another flight.
Having turned back to Moscow, video showed the dramatic moment the Sukhoi jet bounced and burst into flames on the runway of Sheremtyevo airport.
41 of 78 people aboard the service were killed in the resulting blaze, including two children and a flight attendant.
The Governor of Murmansk wrote in a Facebook post that 26 of the victims were from the region, as the destination.
The planes black boxes have been recovered and are being handed by investigators.
The airline has published a list of survivors on their website, along with a contact line.
Can lightning cause a plane to crash?
Lightning strikes are fairly common events, if unsettling for passengers onboard.
With millions of commercial flights every day, planes are designed to withstand lighting strikes with a 'Faraday cage' structure surrounding passengers to disperse charge safely.
In spite of aluminium still being a common material for passenger planes, the hull of the plane is built to withstand strikes and be fire retardant.
The Sukhoi Superjet-100 involved in the crash is a source of pride for Russian engineering. The regional jet was Russian built and designed, making its maiden commercial flight in 2011.
The plane has a previously clean service history with only one fatal incident during a demonstration, blamed on human error.