Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tupolev 204-100V, RA-64047, Red Wings Airlines: Accident occurred December 29, 2012 at Moskva-Vnukovo Airport (VKO), Russia

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A passenger jet crashed after making a hard landing at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. At least four people were killed and three critically injured, says the Interior Ministry. Officials believe the cause could be pilot error. 

Two people were reportedly found dead at the scene, while four others were taken to hospital. Three of them were in a critical condition. At least one person, a 27-year-old woman, died on the way to hospital. The captain and co-pilot are among those killed, reports Interfax citing sources.

The plane was flying in from Pardubice, the Czech Republic, and was carrying eight to twelve people according to various reports. Vnukovo Airport says that everyone onboard were the crew. Pardubice Airport confirms that:

“There was only the crew aboard. No Czech nationals were among them. Before taking off the operating company checked all the plane’s systems and said they were functioning normally,”  Pardubice's press-service told The service added the plane had taken tourists to Pardubice and was going back without any passengers.

 A criminal case over possible flight safety violations has been opened in connection with the Vnukovo plane crash, the official spokesman of Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said. The preliminary cause of the TU-204 accident is pilots’ error, Markin added.

The incident took place at around 16:35 local time (12:35 GMT). Preliminary reports say the jet, which belongs to Russian low-cost airline Red Wings, crashed after taking a second landing attempt. It rolled out from the runway into Kievskoye Highway, fell into three pieces and caught fire. The fire area of 100 square meters was extinguished by firefighters, officials said.

Media allege that Vnukovo firefighting cars were on repair so the first emergency crews appeared on the scene no earlier than 50 minutes after the blaze broke out.

The circumstances of the incident are being clarified. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered to set up a special investigation group to look into the accident.

Earlier, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry confirmed that the plane had to make a forced landing.

Witnesses say smoke from the crashed plane was seen from far away.

There was a front part of the plane lying on half of the highway, the right wing attached to it was on fire,” one driver told Interfax. 

Another driver said the plane appeared to be almost empty.

The body of the plane was off the road. It grasped my attention that the plane body was not much damaged and inside, where the passengers should sit, there was nobody, the seats were empty.”

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