"The plane took off and about 30 minutes later we heard two powerful bangs under the wing and then we saw a flash. Not that we were terrified but some passengers had to use anti-anxiety drugs because no one explained to us what was happening," a female passenger said.
She was echoed by another passenger, who also pointed to a couple of bangs during the flight of the UTair Boeing, which had 112 people on board.
"There was a bang which was followed by a flash and a subsequent new bang and flash as the jet liner continued its flight," a man said.
The jet was en route from Moscow to the Russian Siberian city of Surgut, but during the flight the pilot decided to return. It touched down at 11:30 p.m. local time.
According to FlightRadar, the plane circled over Vnukovo Airport for a while before landing. The jet departed from Vnukovo at 9:07 p.m. local time on Sunday.
On March 19, a FlyDubai Boeing-737-800 passenger jet en route from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don, Russia crashed at the city's airport after missing the runway amid poor visibility, killing all 62 people on board.