The plane landed at Roston-on-Don International airport [Photo: Platov airport]

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a pilot suffered a suspected heart attack in the cockpit before dying.

The 49-year-old was flying the Russian state airline Aeroflot Airbus 320 on a domestic flight from Moscow at 33,000 ft when he became ill.

The jet bound for the popular Black Sea resort of Anapa made an emergency landing at Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday where medical help was given to the pilot.

But he was pronounced dead.

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A female passenger said: “A female flight attendant ran through the plane asking if there was a doctor because one of the crew members was feeling unwell.

“Several minutes later we were told that the aircraft was performing emergency landing.”

A source told news agency TASS the pilot “died during the landing”.

An ambulance was called to Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Do [Photo: AIF Rostov-on-Don]

The SU1546 flight had left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at 8.20 am local time with scheduled arrival shown as 10.40 am but instead it landed at Rostov at 9.57 am.

It was reported as preparing to continue to Anapa with a replacement co-pilot.

“Unfortunately it was not possible to resuscitate the pilot,” an Aeroflot spokesman told RBC news outlet.

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“He died in the ambulance.

“We express our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Reports said the “preliminary” cause of death was a heart attack or thrombosis.

The Russian Investigative Committee’s southern investigative department has launched a probe into the pilot's death.