THIS is the shocking moment a holiday jet carrying sixty two people crashed in a fireball wiping out everyone on board, agencies report. Officals say the Boeing 737-800 jet, flying from Dubai, was attempting to land for a second time at 00:50 GMT on Saturday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don when it missed the runway.
Pilot error or technical failure amid high winds and poor visibilty have been cited as possible factors into the tragedy near the Ukraine border. In a statement on its website, the Investigative Committee of Russia said the aircraft “hit the ground and broke into pieces”. Oksana Kovrizhnaya, a representative of the Committee, said: “At present, we are looking into two main theories for the plane crash… pilot error in connection with deteriorating weather conditions or a technical error.”
Sixty-two victims, most of whom were Russian, were killed with four children among the dead. CCTV footage shows the moment the plane smashes into the ground close to a main road before it explodes into flames. Warnings over strong winds were issued and it was reportedly raining hard around the time of the crash.
The aircraft had circled for hours after failing to land on its first attempt but then crashed on its second descent, report say. The regional governor indicated most of the passengers – of which 33 were woman, 18 men, four children and seven crew – on board the low-cost airline flight were Russian. Emirates-based FlyDubai confirmed the nationalites as as 44 Russian, 8 Ukrainian, two Indian, on one person from Uzbekistan.
A statement on their Facebook page said: “While we are still awaiting final confirmation, it is with great sadness that we report we believe there are no survivors.” FlyDubai chief executive, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “Our primary concern is for the families of the passengers and crew who were on board.
“Everyone at FlyDubai is in deep shock and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those involved. We don’t yet know all the details of the accident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish the cause.” As the FZ981 flight descened into the airport, 950km south of Russia, it landed 800ft shy of the runway after it took off from Dubai international airport at 18.20GMT.
The country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations reports that the aircraft had to abandon an initial attempt to land and came down while trying again. Some 500 rescue workers and 60 emergency vehicles rushed to the scene to battle the flames and search for any survivors, reports said. An investigation has been launched into the crash and a search is underway to find the plane’s flight recorder.
The plane, operated by FlyDubai — a low-cost airline based in the UAE which has one of the world’s youngest fleets of aircraft — attempted to land in poor visibility conditions. The airline operates a hub from Dubai International Airport and recently announced plans to move a large amount of their operations the the new Dubai Al Maktoum Internatonal Airport in Jebel Ali.