Human error, technical failure main theories for FlyDubai plane crash

  • Reuters, Moscow
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2016 17:38 IST
Emergencies Ministry members and investigators work at the crash site of the Boeing 737-800 Flight FZ981 operated by Dubai-based budget carrier FlyDubai, at the airport of Rostov-On-Don, Russia, in this handout image released by the Russian Emergencies Ministry on March 19, 2016. (REUTERS)

The Investigative Committee of Russia said on Saturday that it is believes pilot error or a technical failure was the most likely causes for the plane crash that killed 62 in southern Russia, Russian news agencies reported.

“At present, we are looking into two main theories for the plane crash in Rostov-on-Don: pilot error in connection with deteriorating weather conditions or a technical error,” Interfax news agency cited a representative of the Committee, Oksana Kovrizhnaya, as saying.

A FlyDubai plane carrying 62 people from Dubai crashed early on Saturday while landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don in strong winds, killing all aboard. Two of the passengers killed were Indian.

A grainy video from a security camera pointing towards the airport, which were broadcast on Russian television, showed a large explosion at ground level, with flames and sparks leaping high into the air.

“Unfortunately, they all died,” Viktor Yanutsenko, an emergencies ministry official helping coordinate the emergency response, was quoted as saying by Russia’s RIA news agency.

Read: Two Indians among 62 killed in FlyDubai plane crash in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that assistance to the relatives of those killed in a plane crash in southern Russia was the priority, local news agencies cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

“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 was quoted as saying.

The plane belonged to the budget carrier FlyDubai. In a statement, the budget carrier confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and said that there are fatalities.

A psychologist of the Russian Emergencies Ministry (L) speaks with a relative (C) of a victim of the crashed Flydubai Boeing 737-800 at the airport of Rostov-On-Don, Russia. (REUTERS)

The cause was not immediately determined, but Golubev said: “By all appearances, the cause of the air crash was the strongly gusting wind, approaching a hurricane level.”

Ian Petchenik, a spokesperson for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, said the plane missed approach then entered a holding pattern and tried to land again before contact was lost.

On October 31, a Russian airliner blew up in the air over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 aboard. Investigators determined it was destroyed by a bomb onboard.

FlyDubai is a budget airline launched in 2008 by the government of Dubai, the Gulf commercial hub that is part of the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation. Its first flight took to the skies in 2009.

The budget carrier has a good safety record. In January 2015, one of its planes was struck on the fuselage by what appeared to small-arms fire shortly before it landed in Baghdad. That flight landed safely with no major injuries reported.

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