Russian officials have said that all sixty-two people on board a Flydubai Boeing 737 were killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames as it was landing in Rostov-on-Don, in Southern Russia, on Saturday morning.
Russia’s emergencies ministry said the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 operated by the Dubai-based budget carrier, crashed at 03:50 (0030 GMT) at the airport in Rostov-on-Don. Officials said there were 55 passengers and six crew on board the plane.
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) March 19, 2016
Unfortunately, they all died.
“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.
Zhanna Terekohova, an advisor to the Russian transport minister, told state television possible causes of the crash included pilot error and poor weather conditions.
ITV News (@itvnews) March 19, 2016
Footage shown on local media showed a huge fireball engulfing a wide area after the plane went down. The authorities took more than an hour to get the blaze under control, the emergencies ministry said.
More than 500 rescuers and 60 vehicles were dispatched to the crash site, the ministry added.
A strong wind warning was in place and it was raining hard at the time of the crash, and according to LifeNews, the plane had been circling the area trying to land for two hours because of the poor weather.
Other flights had been diverted to Krasnodar airport, 300 kilometres south of Rostov-on-Don.
Government-owned Flydubai, a no-frills sister firm to Emirates, was established in March 2008.
The airline had a strong safety record, but one of its planes was hit by a bullet as it landed in Baghdad airport in January 2015, prompting multiple airlines to suspend flights to the Iraqi capital. No one was hurt in that incident.