No survivors in FlyDubai plane crash in southern Russia | News | DW | 19.03.2016
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No survivors in FlyDubai plane crash in southern Russia

The Dubai-based airliner carrying 62 people crashed as it was landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Russian officials say all passengers and crew on board FlyDubai flight FZ981 perished.

The Boeing 737-800, operated by budget airline FlyDubai, crashed early Saturday morning (local time) in Rostov-on-Don, about 950 kilometers (600 miles) from Moscow, Russian aviation officials confirmed.

Flight FZ981 was attempting to land in heavy wind and rain, a source told the Russian news agency RIA, adding that the plane missed the runway by up to 100 meters (328 feet) due to poor visibility at the airport.

"The aircraft hit the ground and broke into pieces," the Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement on its website. "According to preliminary data, there were 55 passengers aboard and seven crew members. They all died."

The investigators recovered both flight recorders from the site.

Out of 55 passengers aboard the plane, 44 were Russian and eight Ukrainian, with two Indians and one Uzbek national. Four children were among the dead, according to a Flydubai statement.

Flight monitoring service AirLive said the jetliner crashed after attempting a second landing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered authorities provide assistance to the relatives of those killed in the plane crash, local news agencies reported, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"The head of the state said that now the main thing is to work with the families and the loved ones of those who had died," Peskov said.

Investigation underway

According to the Emergency Situations Ministry, the accident happened at 00:50 UTC on Saturday, and that it took emergency workers more than an hour to bring the blaze at the crash site under control.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of crash.

Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that although the cause of the crash was not immediately determined, there were indications that it happened due to bad weather.

"By all appearances, the cause of the air crash was the strongly gusting wind, approaching a hurricane level," the governor said.

Speaking on Russian state television, veteran pilot Sergei Kruglikov said "it was an uncontrollable fall."

But FlyDubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith said it was too early to say what caused the plane to crash. "There was no distress call (issued) from the pilot," he added.

"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 al-Ghaith.

'Deep shock'

The airline published a message on their Twitter account. "At this moment, our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and our crew who were on board the aircraft," it read.

Established in 2008, FlyDubai is a government-owned low-cost carrier based in the United Arab Emirates. It operates 1,400 flights per week to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The airliner is rapidly expanding in Russia as Dubai happens to be one of the most favorable tourist spots for Russians.

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.

FlyDubai has a good safety record, but one of its planes was shot at while landing in Baghdad in January 2015. No major injuries were reported.

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