A Russian Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft crashed at Vnukovo airport in Moscow earlier today when it overshot the runway and caught fire, narrowly missing vehicles on Kievskoye Highway just outside of the airport.
Four people are reportedly dead; an additional four people were injured.
The aircraft operated by Red Wings — an airline based in Moscow — was transporting eight crew members from the Czech Republic to Moscow. No passengers were reportedly aboard the aircraft. FlyerTalk member Temedar surmises in this discussion that “tomorrow is the first day of New Year holidays in Russia that would last until January 8th. It is reasonable to assume that the flight was flying full out of Moscow carrying pax to the Czech Republic, a popular tourist destination, and was returning empty as almost no one takes a holiday before the New Year.”
While it is unfortunate that there were fatalities, the consequences of this incident could have been much worse if the aircraft was full of passengers and if the aircraft had crossed the busy highway. Light snow was reportedly falling at the time of the crash.
Vnukovo airport — the third busiest airport in Russia and one of the three airports which serves Moscow — was shut down for several hours.
Both a probe and an investigation were ordered to examine and scrutinize the cause of the accident, which is not known at this time — although the probable cause is supposedly being initially attributed to pilot error.
Pilot error was the cause of this crash of an airplane built in Russia which killed 45 people in Indonesia earlier this year; and at least 43 people were killed in this crash which involved members of a Russian hockey team.
The following video provided by CBS News shows raw footage of the aftermath of the crash: