FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 on Flight FZ981 Crashed in Rostov-on-Don, Russia

nsnbc : A Boeing 737-800 operated by FlyDubai on Flight FZ981 crashed on Saturday in Rostov-on-Don in southwestern Russia. All 62 passengers and crew on board the airliner perished in the crash. Preliminary estimates suggest that bad weather may have been a major contributing factor. The aircrew abandoned the first approach and the plane crashed on its second approach to the airport, not far from the runway and at steep angle. FlyDubai states that it will do everything possible to help families and loved ones of those who were on board the airliner.

Courtesy Russian Emergency Ministry.

Courtesy Russian Emergency Ministry.

The FlyDubai Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 was on flight FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don. The reportedly plane crashed some hundred meters short of the runway at 3:42 MSK on Saturday. The aircrew had aborted one approach due to bad weather conditions including strong crosswind and rainfall.

Investigators are considering bad weather as one possible contributing factor in the crash but are also investigating other possible causes such as technical malfunctions in the plane of ground equipment as well as human error. The Russian State news agency Tass quotes “a source familiar with such situations” as saying that the planes flights data and cockpit voice recorder are likely to be investigated by Russian aviation authorities.

CCTV footage that captured the last split-second of the crash shows that the plane impacted the ground at a relatively steep angle. A Danish air safety expert who is consulting for nsnbc international noted that the survivability of an impact at such as steep angle that resulted in an immediate explosive fire was very low; That is regardless whether the plane impacted the ground nose or tail first and regardless of a relatively slow air speed during the final approach.

FlyDubai issued a statement, saying that the airline is ready to provide all possible assistance to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew who died in the crash. FlyDubai CEO Gaith Al-Gaith wrote on the airline’s website:

“On behalf of everyone at FlyDubai, I would like to express the devastation we all feel in relation to this morning’s tragic events in Rostov-on-Don. Our primary concern is for the passengers and crew involved at this tragic time. Everyone in our company is in deep shock and our hearts go out to all loved ones of those involved. … We are still in the process of gathering all the information we possibly can, but at this stage I will share the facts that we are able to confirm now. At 00.50GMT today flydubai flight FZ981 crashed at Rostov-on-Don and I am very sorry to say that we believe that there are no survivors. Onboard the aircraft, 55 passengers including 33 women, 18 men and 4 children and 7 crew members of whom 5 were male and 2 were female. The nationalities of the passengers included 44 Russians, 8 Ukrainians, 2 Indians and 1 Uzbekistani. … I am personally leading our accident response with the support of the full management team. At this stage the focus of our efforts is on establishing the facts around the incident and providing all possible support to the authorities. … As I speak members of our team are contacting relatives of the passengers and crew who were on board and we are offering any help we can to those affected. .. In addition, we have activated our Emergency Response Team who are on their way now to the site. … We do not yet know all the details of the incident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish precisely what happened. We are making every effort to care for those affected and will provide assistance to the families and friends of those who were on board. .. Finally, I would like to say once more how deeply we feel for those affected by this tragedy.”

The pilots of the Boeing 737-800 had, according to Al-Gaith a sufficient level of training and experience to operate the airplane. Speaking at a press conference, Al-Gaith noted that the captain had 5,700 and the co-pilot had logged 5,669 flight hours. The aircraft was last inspected on January 21, 2016, he added. The FlyDubai CEO added that he would not jump to conclusions until data of the official investigation is received. He said the company’s experts are now on the way to Russia and the company in constant contact with the Russian authorities.

F/AK – nsnbc 20.03.2016

Our condolences to the families, loved ones and colleagues of those who perished in the tragic aircrash. On behalf of nsnbc international, co-editor Fahwad Al-Khadoumi.

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