A supervisor at Sochi International Airport has died after a landing plane careered off the end of the runway into a riverbed and caught fire.
The health ministry says 18 people were injured in the accident, which occurred at about 3am local time as the Utair-operated Boeing 737 from Moscow, carrying 164 passengers and six crew members, was landing.
Transportation minister Yevgeny Ditrikh said airport shift supervisor Vladimir Begiyan, who was one of the first responders to the accident, died of a heart attack at the scene.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, but State news agency RIA, citing local emergency services, said the accident happened after the plane failed to brake in time after landing.
The aircraft had landed in heavy rain and with a strong tail wind, Russian civil aviation official Oleg Smirnov told state television channel Rossiya24, which showed images of the aircraft with damaged engines and wings.
Sochi airport said on its website that the aircraft fire that erupted was extinguished in eight minutes and all those on board were evacuated within 17 minutes.
Russia’s flight safety watchdog will conduct an assessment of Sochi airport and Utair, Rossiya24 channel reported.
Safety concerns have plagued Russia’s airline industry as it has witnessed multiple fatal crashes in recent years.
In June, a Utair plane carrying Peruvian soccer fans from the World Cup city of Ekaterinburg to Tyumen in Siberia had to land due to an engine failure that caused the cabin to fill with smoke.