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4 Dead In Moscow Air Crash

Passenger Plane Runs Off Runway

  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

    Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

  • Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

    Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)
  • Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Wreckage of a plane which careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Rescuers work at the site of careered off the runway plane at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. A Tu-204 aircraft belonging to Russian airline Red Wings careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing several people. (AP Photo/Alexander Usoltsev)

Moscow — A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia’s third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing yesterday, 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 the tail section partly torn away.

The crash occurred amid snow and winds gusting up to 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.

On Friday, the Aviation Agency sent a directive to the Tupolev company’s president calling for it to take urgent preventive measures.

The plane that crashed yesterday took off from Pardubice airport in the Czech Republic. Jan Anderlik, the director of the company that operates the airport, told Czech public television that the plane underwent a regular technical check before takeoff and no problems were discovered.

Prior to yesterday’s crash, there had been no fatal accidents reported for Tu-204s, which entered commercial service in 1995.

The plane is a twin-engine midrange jet with a capacity of about 210 passengers.

The Red Wings airline is one of the holdings of Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, who also owns the British newspapers The Independent and the Evening Standard.

Vnukovo, on the southern outskirts of Moscow, is one of the Russian capital’s three international airports.