Moscow: A Dubai airliner with 62 people on board crashed and caught fire early Saturday while landing in strong winds in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all aboard.
A list published by the Emergencies Ministry showed the Boeing 737-800 operated by FlyDubai was carrying 55 passengers, most of them Russian, and seven crew members, whose nationalities were not immediately known. Russia's Emergencies Ministry said that all had been killed.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup informed that 2 Indians are among those killed in the FlyDubai plane crash.
Swarup said the Indian embassy in Moscow got this information from the list put out by the Russian authorities. Swarup said the two Indians that appear on the list are Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam.
Flydubai flight FZ981 was en route to the Russian city from Dubai and crashed while trying to land. Emergencies Department said the aircraft was scheduled to land at 1.20 am. but went down at 3.50 am.
"A Boeing 737 crashed as it was coming into land. There were 62 people on board. They are all dead," Emergencies Department spokesman said.
It was the budget carrier's first crash since it began operations in 2009. In a statement, FlyDubai confirmed that Flight 981 crashed on landing and there were no survivors. Four children were among those killed. "Our primary concern is for the families of the passengers and crew who were on board. Everyone at FlyDubai is in deep shock and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those involved," said CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith.
The plane's pilot had circled the airport, waiting for the weather to clear before re-attempting to land, but the aircraft's tail had clipped the runway. The Boeing 737-800 fell apart and caught fire during the second attempt to land. "The aircraft completely fell apart at the start of the runway," Russian Emergencies Ministry's Southern Regional Centre chief Igor Oder said.
He said most people on-board were residents of Rostov-on-Don, adding that there were also foreigners among them. Law enforcement officials cited bad weather conditions and crew error among possible causes of the crash. Terror-related possibilities were ruled out.
Weather data from the area indicated that winds of 97 kph at the time of the crash and there was light rain. A storm warning was declared in Rostov-on-Don on Friday.
The plane's flight path, as tracked by Flight Radar 24, showed the plane made a number of turns near the Rostov-on-Don airport prior to the final landing.
The airport will remain closed until Sunday. At least six flights were delayed, two of which were supposed to leave for St. Petersburg, while the others were due to arrive in Moscow. The inbound flights are getting rerouted to Krasnodar.
Flydubai, an Emirati budget airline with a new fleet of planes that started flying in mid-2009, said, “We are investigating further details and will publish an update once more information is available.”
Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a probe. "An operative and investigative group of the Southern Transport Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has departed for the site of the accident," the department said.
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