Brakes may have caused air crash


Faulty brakes may be to blame for a Russian airliner sliding off the runway and smashing on to a highway near Moscow, killing five people, a member of the crash investigation team said yesterday.

Investigators said they were examining the black boxes to try to determine the cause of Saturday’s crash, which cracked the wings off the Tupolev-204 aircraft and split the fuselage into three pieces. If they find bad brakes were at fault, it would match a warning issued to the state-owned Tupolev by Russia’s aviation authority to fix problems with the brakes that may have caused a Tu-204 with 70 people onboard to go off a Siberian runway on December 21st.

Any sign that the catastrophe during peak holiday travel could have been avoided will worsen concerns over the country’s poor air-safety record, despite President Vladimir Putin’s calls to improve controls.

“After landing, the pilot uses all the available brake systems on the plane, but for some reason the machine did not stop,” a member of the investigation team told the Interfax new agency. “Most likely it was faulty reverse engines or brakes.” A fifth crew member of the Red Wing plane, which was travelling without passengers, died of her injuries in hospital on Sunday, the company said.

Television footage showed the jet with smoke billowing from the tail end and the cockpit broken off after the crash.

A photo showed a crew member, strapped to a seat, sprawled on the pavement after apparently being hurled far from the plane during its impact with a barrier.

Russia and other former Soviet republics had some of the worlds worst air-traffic safety records last year, with an accident rate almost three times the world average, the International Air Transport Association said. – (Reuters)