Miracle escape as crew and passengers flee plane crash in Sochi, Russia

Passengers and crew on a Boeing 737 had a miraculous escape today when the aircraft skidded off the runway and into a river in a crash landing then ignited in an inferno.

Panicking passengers jumped onto broken wings then 'threw' children to the ground to flee the burning plane.

All 170 on board escaped with seconds to spare.

Eighteen were injured as 164 passengers and six crew were evacuated from the burning UTair plane in the Russian resort of Sochi.

Panicking passengers jumped onto broken wings then 'threw' children to the ground to flee the burning plane

Panicking passengers jumped onto broken wings then 'threw' children to the ground to flee the burning plane

There were no fatalities among those on board but one rescuer was reported to have died from a heart attack at the scene.

Emergency chutes did not inflate immediately, said passengers.

At least four people on board the plane were hospitalised with burns, and another suffered a broken spine.

Distressing videos shows the plane erupt in flames - but there was time for passengers and crew to escape using the emergency chutes.

Both wings broke and there was damage to the undercarriage.

Reports on state news agency TASS suggested one wing clipped the ground as the plane landed in bad weather.

The plane aborted several failed landing attempts before the pilot told them he they would touchdown, said rescued passengers.

'The plane attempted to land several times, unsuccessfully, and finally the pilot said we were landing,' said a couple on board the stricken Boeing.

'This wasn't a success either. We landed, everyone started clapping - and immediately the left side of the plane caught fire,' said one.

'We were sitting right next to emergency exit.

'Everything happened in a blink of an eye, so, so fast.'

A male passenger said: 'Everything happened very quick.

'The emergency exits were open, but there were no chutes people were

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