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Passenger jet crashes in southern Russia, killing dozens

Russian officials say dozens have been killed after a Boeing 738 passenger jet crashed as it was landing in Rostov-on-Don, in Southern Russia. Officials say 61 passengers and crew were aboard the plane when it crashed.

Local media cited Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry as saying that a Boeing 737 operated by budget airline Flydubai crashed as it was landing in the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don, about 950 kilometers (600 miles) from Moscow.

"A Boeing 737 crashed as it was coming into land. There were 61 people on board. They are all dead," said a spokesman from the local ministry, quoted by the official TASS news agency.

Flight FZ981, which had taken off from Dubai International Airport some hours earlier, was carrying 55 passengers, including four children, and as many as six crew, local media said.

The ministry said the accident happened at 00:50 UTC on Saturday and that it took emergency workers more than an hour to bring a blaze, at the crash site, under control.

According to the the flight monitoring service AirLive, the jetliner crashed after attempting a second landing.

Passagiermaschine in Russland abgestürzt

The flight was attempting a second landing during bad weather

A source told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the plane missed the runway by up to 100 meters (328 meters) due to poor visibility at the airport.

The source said heavy rain could have affected visibility at the time of landing.

The governor of Rostov-on-Don told Russian TV that most of the passengers were Russians who lived in the southern region. Russian officials said preliminary information suggested that three foreigners were also on board.

Rostov-on-Don airport remained closed following the crash.

Flydubai posted a comment on Facebook saying: "Flydubai regrets to confirm that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and that fatalities have been confirmed as a result of this tragic accident...We will do everything we can to help those who have been affected...At this moment, our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and our crew who were on board the aircraft."

Established in 2008, Flydubai is widely seen as the low-cost sister carrier to Emirates, although it not directly owned by the bigger airline. It now operates 1,400 flights per week to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Another flight monitoring service Flightradar24 said the crashed jet had been in service for just five years.

Boeing confirmed on Twitter that its team was "gathering more details" about the crash.

mnm/bw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)