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MOSCOW, December 30 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) has refuted media reports alleging that Red Wings Airlines, the operator of a jet that crashed outside Moscow on Saturday, had its Air Operator Certificate suspended.
“This information is not true,” Rosaviatsia spokesman Sergei Izvolsky told Itar-Tass on Saturday. The company’s certificate has not been suspended, he said.
The accident took place at 16:45 Moscow time on Saturday. A Tu-204 jet of Red Wings Airlines that had arrived from the Czech Republic overshot the runway at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow and landed into a highway. It broke into three fragments and caught fire. The plane’s fuselage blocked traffic along the Kievskoye highway. It took some thirty minutes to put out the fire.
The jet was returning to Moscow empty, with only eight crewmembers onboard, after having taken Russian tourists to the Czech Republic. Four crewmembers, including the pilot, were killed in the crash, four others were injured.
A criminal case has been opened on charges of violations of air traffic and aircraft operation rules. Investigators are looking into three possible causes - bad weather, technical failure and pilot error.