4 dead in Moscow airliner crash

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 30, 2012 at 12:14 am •  Published: December 30, 2012
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MOSCOW (AP) — A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing at least four people.

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings that was flying back from the Czech Republic without passengers to its home at Vnukovo Airport.

Emergency officials said in a televised news conference that four people were killed and another four severely injured when the plane rolled off the runway into a snowy field and partly onto an adjacent highway, then disintegrated. No collisions with vehicles on the major, multilane highway were reported.

The plane's cockpit area was sheared off from the fuselage and a large chunk gashed out near the tail.

The crash occurred amid light snow and winds gusting up to 15 meters a second (30 mph), but other details were not immediately known. A spokesman for Russia's top investigative agency, Vladimir Markin, said initial indications were that pilot error was the cause.

The state news agency RIA Novosti cited an unidentified official at the Russian Aviation Agency as saying another Red Wings Tu-204 had gone off the runway at the international airport in Novosibirsk in Siberia on Dec. 20. The agency said that incident, in which no one was injured, was due to the failure of the plane's engines to go into reverse upon landing and that its brake system malfunctioned.

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