Russia Air Crash: Faulty Brakes Likely Cause

Faulty brakes may be to blame for a Russian airliner sliding off the runway and crashing into a motorway, an investigator has said, as the death toll rose to five.

"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 Russia's Interfax news agency.

"Most likely it was faulty reverse engines or brakes."

Amateur footage captured the moment the Tu-204 plane smashed onto the road after it overshot a runway at Moscow's Vnukovo airport.

The footage, taken from a vehicle on the motorway, shows luggage and other debris flying from the aircraft and hitting other cars on the road.

Loud bangs can also be heard as the plane impacted with the ground and the cars were hit by the wreckage.

Five people - the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and two flight stewards - were killed in the crash and another three seriously injured

The Red Wing Airlines aircraft burst through a perimeter fence on to the motorway at Russia's third busiest airport.

Officials said the plane - travelling from the Czech Republic - was carrying eight crew members and no passengers. It broke into pieces and caught fire after crashing.

The cockpit of the aircraft was sheared off from the fuselage and a large chunk gashed out near the tail during the impact.

Investigators are examining flight recorders and other evidence to try to determine the cause of the accident.

Prior to Saturday's crash, there had been no fatal accidents reported for Tu-204s, which entered commercial service in 1995.

But the state news agency RIA Novosti cited an unidentified official at the Russian Aviation Agency as saying another Tu-204 had gone off the runway at the international airport in Novosibirsk, Siberia, on December 20.

The agency said that incident, in which no one was injured, was due to the failure of the plane's engines to go into reverse upon landing and that its brake system malfunctioned.

The Tu-204 plane is a twin-engine mid-range jet with room to carry about 210 passengers.

The billionaire owner of Red Wing Airlines, Alexander Lebedev, has said the pilot of the aircraft that crashed on Saturday was experienced, with 14,500 hours of flying time.

Witnesses told state channel Rossiya-24 they saw a man thrown from the plane as it rammed into the barrier of the motorway and described pulling other people from the wreckage.

The airport was closed after the crash and flights were routed to Moscow's other airports, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo.

Russia and other former Soviet republics have some of the world's worst air traffic safety records - with a total accident rate three times the world average, according to the International Air Transport Association.

In April, 31 people were killed after a passenger jet crashed after takeoff in Siberia.

Another 44 people, including the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team, were killed when their aircraft smashed into a riverbank in September 2011.