FOOTAGE HAS EMERGED of the moment when a passenger airline overran its runway on arrival at one of Moscow’s main airports – crashing into the motorway beside it.
Four people were killed when the Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft failed to stop in time after landing at Vnukovo airport to the west of the Russian capital.
“The plane touched down in the proper landing area but for some reason was unable to stop on the strip,” Federal Air Transport Agency chief Alexander Neradko said in televised remarks.
A bigger loss of life was only averted because the liner – with a capacity for 210 passengers – was empty except for eight crew on their return from a charter flight to the Czech Republic.
The jet split into three pieces and required the temporary shutdown of both the Kiev Highway and Vnukovo – Moscow’s third largest airport and the site of a special terminal for Kremlin officials.
A security source said investigators had brushed aside poor weather conditions or pilot error and were focusing on technical problems with the four-year-old Tupolev jet as the most likely cause.
Witnesses said heavy gusts accompanying a light snowfall were swirling over the airport at the time the plane came in for landing, at 4:45pm local time (12:45pm Irish time) yesterday.
Additional reporting by AFP