2 dead in Moscow airliner crash

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing two people.

There were conflicting reports as to how many people were aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings in the accident at Vnukovo Airport, ranging from eight to 12.

Emergency officials said several were in critical or serious condition. Interior Ministry spokesman Gennady Bogachev told the state TV news channel Vesti that two people were killed.

Vesti showed photos of the plane's wreckage, with the cockpit clearly sheared off from the fuselage and a large chunk gashed out near the tail.

The crash occurred amid light snow, but other details were not immediately known. Initial reports said the plane crashed while landing, but later reports indicated it was trying to take off.

Prior to Saturday's crash, there had been no fatal accidents reported for Tu-204s, which entered commercial service in 1995. The plane is a twin-engine midrange jet with a capacity of about 210 passengers.

Vnukovo, on the southern outskirts of Moscow, is one of the Russian capital's three international airports. The airport was closed after the crash and flights were rerouted to Moscow's other airports, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo.

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Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this story

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