Zacheaus Somorin with agency reports
The Flydubai Boeing 737 jet on Saturday crashed at the Rostov-on-Don airport after traveling from Dubai, Russia’s Southern Regional Emergency Centre has said. All those on board died, authorities said. Officials believe bad weather, which kept the plane from reattempting landing for more than two hours, likely caused the crash.
The airport has been closed with medics and psychologists on standby to assist family members, he said. About 700 people are involved in the rescue operation, the Ministry of Emergency Situations said. The crash site is 800 feet (243 metres) from the airport runway, it said. The ministry said investigators had ruled out terrorism as a cause of the crash at this stage and weather conditions were most-likely responsible.
The plane’s pilot circled the airport, waiting for the weather to clear before making a second attempt to land, but the aircraft’s tail had clipped the runway, it said. State media reported winds of 97 kph (60 mph) at the time of the crash.
The Russian Investigative Committee has launched an investigation, and is considering three potential causes, state-run Ria Novosti news agency reported.
“Different versions of the incident are being investigated, including crew error, technical failure, bad weather and other factors,” it quoted committee chief Vladimir Markin as saying. Emergency staff have found one of the plane’s two flight recorders and were searching for the second, Ria Novosti reported.
“Flydubai very much regrets to confirm that the accident involving flight number FZ981 at Rostov-on-Don earlier today has resulted in 55 passenger fatalities including 33 women, 18 men and four children.
“The nationalities of the deceased passengers include 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbekistani,” the airline said. Earlier, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry had said 50 of the passengers and one of the crew members were Russian citizens. It has published a list of those on board.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, state news agency Tass reported. Families of passengers killed will receive one million rubles (approximately $15,000) from the government, Russian state media reported. It said Sunday (today) has been declared a day of mourning in the Rostov region. Dubai’s government media office posted a statement of sympathy on Twitter. “UAE offers.