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Russian Runway Crash Kills Four

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Four crew members died when a Red Wings Tu 204 overran a runway at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on Saturday. Eight others, all flight crew for the Russian airline, survived the crash but four are in the hospital. There were no paying passengers aboard. Russian media is already quoting government sources as saying pilot error is being investigated as the cause. The aircraft went through a barrier and onto a highway just as Russians were beginning the busy New Year holiday, but no one on the ground was hurt. The aircraft ended up in three pieces.

Russian leaders have pledged improvements in air safety but the focus has been on elderly Cold War aircraft still common in the country's domestic airlines. The Tu 204 is comparable to a Boeing 757 and began service in 1994. It is still in production and the crash airplane was built in 2008. It has an unremarkable service record and the only other serious incident was a premature landing accident in 2010 that injured eight on board.

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