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, officials said. The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that two of the dead are Indian, a couple from Kerala.
“A Boeing 737 crashed as it was coming into land. There were 62 people on board. They are all dead,” said a spokesman from the local ministry, quoted by the official TASS news agency.
There were 55 passengers and six crew members on the plane, the official added. The dead Indians have been identified as Mohan Shyam and his wife Anju from Perumbavoor in Kerala.
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The accident happened at 0050 GMT, according to an official statement from the emergencies ministry.
“The Boeing 737 on the Dubai to Rostov-on-Don route caught fire (after crashing),” said the statement, adding that it took an hour to bring the fire under control.
The plane hit the ground a few hundred metres (yards) from the runaway as it was making its second attempt to land in poor visibility, Russian news channel LifeNews reported.
Here are the highlights:
8:30 pm: He told a news conference in Dubai that the Cypriot pilot and Spanish co-pilot each had nearly 6,000 hours of flying experience.
7:06 pm: Flydubai played down the possibility that terrorism caused the crash of one of its airliners in Russia today, killing all 62 people on board. The Dubai-based airline’s chief executive Ghaith al-Ghaith described such a suggestion as “speculation”.
5:59 pm: 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.
5:55 pm: The pilot and co-pilot had 5,965 and 5,769 hours of flying time respectively, making them “quite experienced,” al-Ghaith said. They were not identified by name.
5:50 pm: FlyDubai Chief Executive Ghaith al-Ghaith says the crew included five men and two women. The pilots were from Cyprus and Spain, while the cabin crew included two Russians and citizens of Seychelles, Colombia and Kyrgyzstan.
5:31 pm: “I offer my condolences to the families of the passengers who lost their lives on board flight FZ981. This terrible tragedy grieves us all,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote. “We mourn those lost, may their souls rest in peace. Our thoughts are with their loved ones at this time of sorrow and grief.”
5:30 pm: Emirati authorities including the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, have sent their condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Emirati state news agency WAM reported.
4:00 pm: “We will have information about the circumstances of the incident and the black box in the future, and an investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the Russian authorities and we are waiting to see the results,” Ghaith said.
VIEW GALLERY: FlyDubai plane crash in Russia kills all 62 on board
3:44 pm: It is too early to say what caused a Flydubai plane to crash in Russia on Saturday but Russia and the company are investigating the incident, Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said at a news conference in Dubai.
3:23 pm: Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Investigative Committee, said experts have found the cockpit conversation recorder and are continuing the search for another one which records parameters of the flight.
The crash’s cause wasn’t immediately known, but officials suggested it could have been caused by a gust of wind.
3:22 pm: The Boeing 737-800 operated by FlyDubai was carrying 55 passengers, most of them Russian, and seven crew members of various nationalities when it crashed Saturday in the city of Rostov-on-Don while trying to land in strong winds. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said there were no survivors. Four children were among those killed, FlyDubai said.
3:22 pm: Russian investigators probing the crash of a Dubai airliner in southern Russia that killed all 62 people on board have found one of the plane’s flight recorders.
02:53 pm: The two Indians in the list put out by the Russian authorities are Miss Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam: Ministry of External Affairs, India.
Video: Statement by flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith regarding FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don 19 March 2016:
01:01 pm: According to Flydubai report, the accident resulted in 55 passenger fatalities including 33 women, 18 men and 4 children. The nationalities of the deceased passengers include:
> 44 Russians
> 8 Ukrainians
> 2 Indians
> 1 Uzbekistani
12:51 pm: Russian President Vladimir Putin calls providing assistance to relatives of those killed aboard plane in southern Russia priority: agencies cite Kremlin spokesman.
12:50 pm: Russian investigative committee says human error or technical failure two main theories for plane crash in Russia: Agencies.
10.00 am: Russian investigative committee confirms all 62 people aboard plane are dead.
9.19 am: Statement from the airliner:
flydubai regrets to confirm that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and that fatalities have been confirmed as a result of this tragic accident. The aircraft departed from Dubai International (DXB) at 18:20 GMT bound for Rostov on Don (ROV). The accident occurred in Rostov on Don at approximately 00:50 GMT.
We are doing all we can to gather information as quickly as possible. At this moment our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and our crew who were on board the aircraft.
We will do everything we can to help those who have been affected by this accident.
We are putting our emergency response in place and we will be working closely with all the authorities involved. We will share as much information as possible just as soon as we can and we will provide updated information on a regular basis.
9.10 am: Flydubai helpline numbers: + 44 203 4508 853 or +9714 293 4100.
8.35 am: Survivors were unlikely in the Flydubai plane crash at the Rostov-on-Don airport in southern Russia, based on preliminary estimates, a representative of the region’s emergency ministry said on Saturday.
#UPDATE: 61 killed in plane crash in southern Russia: official
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 19, 2016
8.00 am: Ruptly posted CCTV footage of the crash
— RT (@RT_com) March 19, 2016
We’re aware of reports coming out of Russia and our team is currently gathering more details.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 19, 2016