4 killed as Russian plane crashes, splits into pieces
Moscow: A Russian airliner split into pieces after it slid off the runway and crashed onto a highway outside Moscow on Saturday, killing four of the 12 crew on board and leaving smoking chunks of fuselage on the icy road. The crash during peak holiday travel ahead of Russia’s New Year’s vacation, which runs from Sunday through January 9, cast a spotlight on Russia’s poor airsafety record despite President Vladimir Putin’s calls to improve controls. Television footage showed the Tupolev Tu- 204 jet, broken into pieces, with smoke billowing from the tail end and the cockpit broken clean off the front. One witnesses told state channel Rossiya- 24 they saw a man thrown from the plane as it rammed into the barrier of the highway outside Vnukovo airport, just southwest of the capital, and another described pulling other people from the wreckage.