Flydubai flight FZ981 has crashed in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don killing all 61 passengers and crew on board. The flight was en route from Dubai and crashed during its second landing approach amid poor weather conditions.
Air-traffic control and local emergency services confirmed that the Boeing 737-800 jet crashed near the runway during a second approach in conditions of poor visibility.
“According to preliminary data, the Boeing 738 crashed in poor visibility conditions, some 50-100 meters left of the runway,”the source said.
“The plane, according to preliminary data, crashed during the second approach,” the source told Interfax.
For the FlyDubai air company, which started operations in 2009, the crash in Rostov-on-Don was the first fatal incident in the company’s history.
All crew and passengers on board the plane were killed in the crash, according to the regional Emergencies Ministry. According to preliminary reports there were 61 people on board, including six crew members.
“During the landing approach a Boeing-737 crashed. It had 55 passengers on board. All of them died,” a regional spokesman told TASS.
Initial reports suggested that all passengers on board were Russians, however the Emergencies Ministry later confirmed that 11 foreigners were on board the flight, including all the crew members.
LifeNews reports citizens of Cyprus (captain), Colombia, Kirgizia, Russia, Spain and the Seychelles were among the crew members.
While Russia’s Emergency Ministry reports of 61 people onboard the crashed airplane, the local authorities insist there were 62 people onboard. The difference is due to various quantity of the crew. The number of passengers has been confirmed as 55 people.
— RT (@RT_com) March 19, 2016
CCTV camera footage posted on YouTube claims to have captured the moment of the explosion as the aircraft impacted the ground. However, its authenticity could not be immediately verified.
A record of what appears to be conversation of the pilot of the crashed Boeing-737-800 with the control tower in Rostov-on-Don has been published on the web.
Emergency crews are working at the scene of the crash and have already put out the fire, according to a TASS source.
The airport is to remain closed until at least March 20, 7:00am Moscow time. The inbound flights are getting rerouted to Krasnodar.
According to a LifeNews source, the plane failed to land at the first approach and was forced to make a reentry. However, at this point the aircraft’s tail allegedly hit the ground. The Boeing then crashed and caught fire.
Flydubai confirmed that they are aware of an “incident involving our flight FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov On Don.”
“We are investigating further details and will publish an update once more information is available,” the airline added.
The Emergencies Ministry has opened up a hotline while a team of psychologists has been sent to help the grieving relatives.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed has expressed condolences to the relatives and loved ones of the crashed Boeing.
“The Russian president feels deeply for all those who lost their loved ones in the Boeing 737 crash in Rostov-on-Don,”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Saturday, stressing that the president has made it a priority to provide all possible assistance to the relatives of the victims.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a probe into the incident with preliminary data indicating that the plane disintegrated and caught fire upon touching the ground. Reports indicated that the debris were spread across the area of several kilometers.