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Pilots killed as Red Wings Tu-204 crashes on Moscow highway

Three cockpit crew and a flight attendant have been killed after a Red Wings Tupolev Tu-204 crashed on a road near Moscow Vnukovo airport.

Four other cabin crew, the only other occupants of the aircraft, were injured in the accident, according to the Russian emergency services ministry.

The aircraft had been operating as flight 9268, a ferry service, from Pardubice in the Czech Republic when it came down at 16:36.

Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee has identified the airframe involved as bearing registration RA-64047.

It says it has sent a specialist team to the scene of the crash.

 Ivan Sekretarev - PA

 Copyright: Ivan Sekretarev - PA

Recorded surveillance data indicates that the twinjet passed north of the airport before turning right to approach Vnukovo's runway 19.

Some 200m beyond the far end of the runway is a major arterial road, the M3 highway, into the southwest of Moscow.

Images from the scene indicate that the aircraft, on a southwest heading, struck an embankment on the northern side of the highway, near an overhead gantry which crosses multiple lanes.

The Tu-204's cockpit broke away and came to rest on the highway.

Weather information for the time of the accident indicates light snow showers but good visibility.

The crash is the first fatal loss of a Tu-204. Another Tu-204, operated by Aviastar-Tu, was destroyed in March 2010, when it strayed off the approach path to Moscow Domodedovo and broke up in a forest. It was also carrying just eight people but all survived the crash.

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