Four killed when Russian airliner crash lands

Updated 30 December 2012
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Four killed when Russian airliner crash lands

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 Jan. 9, cast a spotlight on Russia’s poor air-safety 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.
“The plane split into three pieces,” Yelena Krylova, chief spokeswoman for the airport, said in televised comments.
An Emergency Services spokesman said four people died of injuries after the crash and four others were in hospital. Police said 12 crew members were on board, but no passengers.
“The plane went off the runway, broke through the barrier and caught fire,” police spokesman Gennady Bogachyov said.
The mid-range Tu-204 was operated by the Russian airline Red Wings and traveling from the Czech Republic, Krylova said.
Rubble from the crash was scattered across the highway and the plane’s wings were torn from the fuselage, witnesses said.
“We saw how the plane skidded off the runway ... The nose, where business class is, broke off and a man fell out,” a witness, who gave his name as Alexei, said. “We helped him get into a mini-bus to take him to the hospital.”
Another witness described pulling four people from the wreckage when he arrived at the scene before emergency service workers. “We could not get the pilot out of the cockpit but we saw a lot of blood,” he told Rossiya-24.
Russian investigators said preliminary findings pointed to pilot error as the cause of the crash.
Russia and other former Soviet republics had some of the world’s worst air-traffic safety records last year, with a total accident rate almost three times the world average, the International Air Transport Association said.
A passenger jet crashed and burst into flames after takeoff in Siberia in April, killing 31 people, and an airliner slammed into a riverbank in September 2011, wiping out the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team in a crash that killed 44 people.
The Russian-built Tu-204, which is comparable in size to a Boeing 757 or Airbus A321, is a Soviet-era design that was produced in the mid-1990s but is no longer being made. There have no major accidents previously reported with Tu-204s.


Toronto: Bodies and debris scattered over mile-long strip

Updated 24 April 2018
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Toronto: Bodies and debris scattered over mile-long strip

  • At least 10 people have died in the attack officials called “deliberate” but not linked to national security concerns
  • Toronto police have the suspect after a confrontation

TORONTO: The crime scene seems to go on forever, a taped off stretch of street scattered with bodies under orange sheets, urban debris and a pair of abandoned shoes.

Toronto police have arrived, and a suspect is under lock and key, but no one yet knows why the driver of a white rental van spread death and destruction under the warm spring sunshine.

“I heard screaming, yelling. I turned back and saw this truck going that way. He was going in and out, back and forth, zigzagging. He just kept on going,” said 42-year-old Rocco Cignielli.

There was nothing the customer service worker could do. Emergency services were on the scene quickly, but in some cases their efforts were in vain.

At least 10 people have died in the attack officials called “deliberate” but not linked to national security concerns.

“I saw there were people lying on the ground. I saw they were doing heart compression, and I saw two people dying right here in front of me,” Cignielli told AFP, pointing at the bodies.

It was shortly after 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) on a working Monday when the speeding van hit this commercial thoroughfare in a district of high-rise residences in the north of Canada’s biggest city.

A pale but cheery sun shone after a long and grim final winter stretch even by the region’s standards. Many local people were out and about.

Nana Agyeman Badu, a 56-year-old taxi driver, saw the van heading south toward central Toronto, where ministers from the G7 world powers were holding a security conference. Then the van swerved onto the sidewalk.

“I thought maybe he was making a delivery. But I was thinking, ‘Why would he drive in the pedestrian walkway like that?’ Very fast. Then I saw he had already run over some people,” the witness said.

“A lady was walking toward the car close to a bus shelter. The truck pinged the lady through the bus shelter and she fell back and all the broken glass fell onto her,” he added.

“I stopped and ran out to help her. The truck continued going and going and going.”

The truck smashed a yellow fire hydrant, a few newspaper dispensers and there, a bit further, lie a pair of sneakers.

“They belong to a victim,” a police officer said.

Some in a crowd that gathered by the police tape as dozens of rescue vehicles were deployed were dumbfounded. “It is a dangerous crossroads,” one woman suggested.

“Oh, it was no accident,” declared another passerby.