STORY: A Russian airliner split into pieces after it slid off the runway and crashed onto a highway outside Moscow on Saturday, killing four of the 12 crew on board and leaving smoking chunks of fuselage on the icy road. The crash during peak holiday travel ahead of Russia's New Year's vacation, which runs from Sunday through Jan. 9, cast a spotlight on Russia's poor air-safety record despite President Vladimir Putin's calls to improve controls. Amateur footage showed the Tupolev Tu-204 jet, broken into pieces, with the tail end and the cockpit broken clean off the front. One witnesses told state channel Rossiya-24 they saw a man thrown from the plane as it rammed into the barrier of the highway outside Vnukovo airport, just southwest of the capital, and another described pulling other people from the wreckage. An Emergency Services spokesman said four people died of injuries after the crash and four others were in hospital. Police said 12 crew members were on board, but no passengers. The mid-range Tu-204 was operated by the Russian airline Red Wings and traveling from the Czech Republic, officials said.
Dec. 29 - Amateur footage shows a wrecked Russian plane laying near busy highway off Moscow Vnukovo airport. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )
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