4 Killed as Jet Slides off Moscow Runway

A passenger airliner traveling from the Czech Republic rolled off the runway at Moscow's Vnukovo airport and broke apart, killing at least four of the 12 crew members on board and leaving smoking chunks of fuselage on the icy road, Reuters reported. A man was thrown from the plane as it rammed into the barrier of the highway outside Vnukovo airport, one witness told the TV channel Rossiya-24. Another witness described pulling other people from the wreckage. "The plane split into three pieces," Yelena Krylova, chief spokeswoman for the airport, said in televised comments. 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. Russian investigators said preliminary findings pointed to pilot error as the cause of the crash. Russia and other former Soviet republics had some of the world's worst air-traffic safety records last year, with a total accident rate almost three times the world average, the International Air Transport Association said.

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