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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Two Indians among 62 killed in FlyDubai plane crash in Russia

A list published by the emergencies ministry showed the 737-800 was carrying 55 passengers and seven crew members, whose nationalities were not immediately confirmed

world Updated: Mar 19, 2016 13:24 IST

A psychologist of the Russian emergencies ministry (L) speaks with a relative (C) of a victim of the crashed Flydubai Boeing plane.
A psychologist of the Russian emergencies ministry (L) speaks with a relative (C) of a victim of the crashed Flydubai Boeing plane. (REUTERS)

A 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.

A list published by the emergencies ministry showed the 737-800 was carrying 55 passengers and seven crew members.

The Dubai Media Office says those killed in the crash of the FlyDubai airliner in Russia include 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one person from Uzbekistan.

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.

A 30-second version of the CCTV camera footage was uploaded on YouTube. However, its authenticity could not be verified.

“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.

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.

Read | No survivors among 224 on board in Russian aircraft crash in Egypt

“We are doing all we can to gather information as quickly as possible,” the airline said.

Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region some 950 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 250 meters (800 feet) short of the runway.

A psychologist sits next to a relative of a victim of the crashed Flydubai plane. (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.”

State news agency Tass said weather data from the area indicated that winds were anywhere from 14 to 22 meters per second (30-50 miles per hour) at the time of the crash and that there was light rain.

Read | Delhi: Hundreds escape, 10 killed as BSF plane crashes in Dwarka

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.

Russian news reports said most of those aboard were Russian tourists but there were unspecified foreigners aboard as well.

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.

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It shares a chairperson with Dubai’s government-backed Emirates, West Asia’s biggest airline, though the two carriers operate independently and maintain separate operations from their bases at Dubai International Airport, the region’s busiest airport.

FlyDubai’s fleet is dominated by relatively young 737-800 aircraft, the same model as the one that crashed. The airline says it operates more than 1,400 flights a week.

The airline has expanded rapidly in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. Dubai is a popular tourist destination for Russian visitors, who are attracted by its beaches, shopping malls and year-round sunshine. Like other nationalities, many Russian expatriates live and work in Dubai, a city where foreigners outnumber locals more than 4-to-1.

It has been flying to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don since 2013.

FlyDubai 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.