A Flydubai Boeing 737-800, registration A6-FDN performing flight FZ-981 from Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to Rostov on Don (Russia) with 55 passengers and 7 crew, had aborted the approach to Rostov’s runway 22 at 01:41L (22:41Z) due to weather and entered a hold initially at 8000 feet, after 30 minutes at 8000 feet the aircraft climbed to FL150. After about 2 hours of holding the aircraft commenced another approach to Rostov’s runway 22, winds from 240 degrees at 27 knots (14 m/s) gusting 42 knots (22 m/s), the crew announced a go around, the aircraft however struck a wing onto the runway at about 03:43L (00:43Z), broke up, came to a rest near the end and to the right of the runway and burst into flames. There are no survivors.
The aircraft carried fuel for trip, contingency, alternate, final fuel reserve (30 minutes) and additional holding for about 2:30 hours, total fuel for an endurance of about 8.5 hours. The aircraft had been airborne until time of impact for 06:02 hours.
Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies reported that more than 700 people and more than 100 vehicles have been deployed to the crash scene for search and recovery operations following the aircraft crash. The aircraft struck a wing onto the runway on touch down and began to disintegrate.
Russia’s MAK (Interstate Aviation Committee, Accident Investigation Board) reported the aircraft broke up and burst into flames upon touching ground, debris is spread over a large area (several kilometers). An investigation has been opened.
The airline confirmed the aircraft crashed on landing in Rostov, there were fatalities.
Radar data suggest the aircraft on final approach was to the left of the localizer and just to the left of the left runway edge and corrected to the right while over the runway bringing the aircraft just within the runway edges during the flare.
The Aviation Herald
Flydubai flight FZ981 has crashed in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don killing all 62 passengers and crew on board. The flight was en route from Dubai and crashed during its second landing approach amid poor weather conditions.
Air-traffic control and local emergency services confirmed that the Boeing 737-800 jet crashed near the runway during a second approach in conditions of poor visibility.
“According to preliminary data, the Boeing 738 crashed in poor visibility conditions, some 50-100 meters left of the runway,” the source said.
A video recorded at the crash site reveals the Boeing-737-800 disintegrated on impact. Tiny pieces of the aircraft are scattered over a large part of the runway at Rostov-on-Don’s airport.
CCTV camera footage posted on YouTube claims to have captured the moment of the explosion as the aircraft impacted the ground. However, its authenticity could not be immediately verified.
All crew and passengers on board the plane were killed in the crash, according to the regional Emergencies Ministry.
“During the landing approach a Boeing-737 crashed. It had 55 passengers on board. All of them died,” a regional spokesman told TASS.
“The plane, according to preliminary data, crashed during the second approach,” the source told Interfax.
Spokesman for the southern bureau of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Oksana Kovrizhnaya, has put forward two versions of the crash: “Pilot error in deteriorating weather conditions or a technical failure,” she said.
Both FZ981 flight data recorders have been recovered from the crash site. Experts are evaluating whether any data can be retrieved from them, said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Russia’s Investigative Committee (IC). The cockpit voice recorder was found in the morning and the parametric recorder was recovered later in the day.
For the FlyDubai air company, which started operations in 2009, the crash in Rostov-on-Don was the first fatal incident in the company’s history.
Initial reports suggested that all passengers on board were Russians, however the Emergencies Ministry later confirmed that 11 foreigners were on board the flight, including all the crew members.
FlyDubai says the passengers included 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbekistani, altogether 55 people.
LifeNews reports citizens of Cyprus (captain), Colombia, Kirgizia, Russia, Spain (2) and the Seychelles were among the crew members.
The company confirmed that there were 62 people on board.
Flight FZ981 from Dubai arrived in Rostov-on-Don at about 1:30am, but due to harsh weather conditions, strong side winds gusting at 25-30 meters per second, it spent the next two hours in the air, picking its moment to land.
As FZ981 was cruising near Rostov-on-Don (ROV), several other flights opted for alternative airports, but the captain of FZ981 decided to wait for a chance to land at ROV.
A record of what appears to be conversation of the pilot of the crashed Boeing-737-800 with the control tower in Rostov-on-Don has been published on the web.
The FlyDubai company has issued an official statement about flight FZ981.
“FlyDubai is deeply sorry to confirm the following information in relation to the tragic accident involving flight FZ981 which was flying from Dubai International (DXB) to Rostov on Don (ROV).”
“Preliminary numbers indicate 55 passengers and seven crew on the Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft.”
Emergency crews are working at the scene of the crash and have already put out the fire, according to a TASS source.
IC spokesman Vladimir Markin said experts and experienced investigators are at the crash site, collecting evidence.
“Site inspection is actively underway. IC investigators are collecting the remains of the passengers for subsequent forensic, genetic examination,” Markin said in a statement published on the Russian Investigative Committee’s official website.
There are some 25 psychologists currently working with relatives of the crash victims at the airport. Thirteen are specialists from the Emergency Ministry, including the director of the Center for Emergency Psychological Aid, Yulia Shoigu told RT. Several hotline phone numbers have been opened in both Rostov-on-Don and Moscow, Shoigu added.
The airport is to remain closed until at least March 20, 7:00am Moscow time. The inbound flights are getting rerouted to Krasnodar.
The Emergencies Ministry has opened up a hotline while a team of psychologists has been sent to help the grieving relatives.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed has expressed condolences to the relatives and loved ones of the crashed Boeing.
“The Russian president feels deeply for all those who lost their loved ones in the Boeing 737 crash in Rostov-on-Don,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Saturday, stressing that the president has made it a priority to provide all possible assistance to the relatives of the victims.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a probe into the incident with preliminary data indicating that the plane disintegrated and caught fire upon touching the ground.
The head of the Emergency Ministry Vladimir Puchkov has held a special meeting, with all the ministry’s efforts, and resources of the local response teams and authorities, directed to the crash site.
There are over 700 response team specialists and about 100 special vehicles operating at the Rostov-on-Don Airport right now.
Relatives of the victims are gathering at the airport, Vasily Golubev, governor of Rostov region, told media. He stressed that everyone will get sympathetic and personal attention.
Golubev said most of the Russian passengers were tourists.
The governor said the weather conditions at the crash site are better than they were at nighttime, and though it is still raining, the wind has weakened and the well-equipped response teams will continue to work while there is light.
An airliner with 61 people aboard coming from Dubai crashed early Saturday while landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said.
All 55 passengers and six crew members had been killed, Igor Oder, head of the ministry’s southern regional operations, said in a televised briefing.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 flying for the budget carrier FlyDubai.
In a statement, FlyDubai confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and that there were fatalities.
“We are doing all we can to gather information as quickly as possible,” the statement added. “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.”
Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region some 950 kilometres south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 250 metres short of the runway. News reports said the plane caught fire after the crash.
The cause of the crash 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 48 to 80 km/h at the time of the crash and that there was light rain.
Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, told The Associated Press that the plane missed approach then entered a holding pattern and tried to land again before contact was lost.
Russian news reports said most of those aboard were Russian tourists but there were unspecified foreign passengers as well.
On Oct. 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.
Dubai popular with Russian tourists
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.
It shares a chairman with Dubai’s government-backed Emirates, the Middle East’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.
FlyDubai has been flying to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don since 2013.
The airline has a good safety record. In January 2015, one of its planes was struck on the fuselage by what appeared to be small-arms fire shortly before it landed in Baghdad. That flight landed safely with no major injuries reported.
A FlyDubai airliner crashed in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don early Saturday, killing all 62 people aboard, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.
The Boeing 737-800 crashed during a repeated landing attempt at the city’s airport, according to the ministry.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. Flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 said the plane had been climbing after a second landing attempt when it suddenly began to fall at rapid speed. Previously, local authorities had said that the plane’s wing had touched the runway upon a second landing attempt, causing it to break apart.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal probe and was considering “error by the plane’s crew, technical malfunction on board, bad weather conditions and other factors” among the possible reasons for the crash. One of the plane’s flight recorders has been recovered from the scene, the committee said.
FlyDubai said flight FZ981 departed from Dubai International Airport at 10:20 p.m. local time Friday (2:20 p.m. ET) and was bound for Rostov-on-Don in Russia. The crash occurred at the destination about 3:50 a.m. local time Saturday, it added.
Of those on board, 55 were passengers and seven were crew members, the ministry said. The airline said the nationalities of the passengers included 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbekistani.
FlyDubai Chief Executive Ghaith Al Ghaith said the airline’s primary concern was for the families of the passengers and crew who were on the flight. “We don’t yet know all the details of the accident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish the cause.”
According to FlightRadar, between the FlyDubai plane’s first and second landing attempts, another aircraft tried to land at the airport and diverted elsewhere.
Boeing said in a statement that it “stands ready to provide technical assistance upon the request of government agencies conducting the investigation.”
FlyDubai was set up in 2008 by the government of Dubai, which also owns Emirates, the largest airline in the world by international traffic. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum heads both airlines.
The airline has sought to replicate the successful low-cost model pioneered by Southwest Airlines Co. Many of the carrier’s operational leaders are former U.S. airline executives.
Saturday’s crash is the worst in the new airline’s short history and few notable safety incidents. In January 2015, one of its 737s came under fire during landing in Baghdad.
The fast-growing, low-cost carrier operates an all-Boeing 737-800 fleet and received its 50th aircraft in October, just over six years after the carrier took its first jet from the plane maker.
The last previous fatal accident involving a 737-800 occurred in 2010 when an Air India Express plane crashed on landing killing all 158 people onboard, according to the Aviation Safety Network, an accident tracking site affiliated with the not-for-profit Flight Safety Foundation. Investigators blamed pilot fatigue for the botched landing.
The event comes after the safest year in the history of commercial jet aviation world-wide. According to industry data, 2015 was the first year without a single passenger fatality as a result of a jetliner accident. Those numbers don’t include planes that are believed to have been brought done by a bomb or other intentional acts.
The Wall Street Journal