Russia plane crash: Flydubai says 'too early' to determine cause

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters
Russia plane crash: Flydubai says 'too early' to determine cause

<p>Aviation experts are investigating what caused a passenger jet to crash as it tried to land in southern Russia, killing all 62 people on board. Most of those on board were Russian, reportedly holidaymakers.</p> <p>Russian officials say both of the plane’s flight recorders have been recovered undamaged.</p> <p>Some 700 emergency workers went to the scene of the crash on Saturday – where amid falling snow, wreckage lay strewn across a wide area. </p> <p>The Boeing 737-800, operated by Emirates-based budget airline Flydubai, came down at Rostov-on-Don amid difficult weather conditions at the end of a flight from Dubai.</p> <p>Investigators are examining various possible causes, including human error, a technical failure and bad weather conditions.</p> <p>Earlier, Russian investigators were quoted as saying they believed pilot error or a technical failure was the most likely reason for the crash.</p> <p>Flydubai’s Chief Executive Ghaith Al Ghaith said there was no distress call from the pilot and that it was too early to say what caused the crash.</p> <p>Both pilot and co-pilot, a Cypriot and a Spaniard, each had over 5,000 hours of flight experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Pictures of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FZ981?src=hash">#FZ981</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlyDubai?src=hash">#FlyDubai</a> crash show small & scattered debris which would indicate a violent impact with ground <a href="https://t.co/T0sTvP17cM">pic.twitter.com/T0sTvP17cM</a></p>— Flight-Report ✈ (@flight_report) <a href="https://twitter.com/flight_report/status/711135583121317888">19 March 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Russia’s emergencies ministry said the disaster happened at 3.40 local time (00.40 <span class="caps">GMT</span>) on Saturday morning.</p> <p>An airport security camera captured the moment Flight FZ981 crashed overnight, inside the airport’s perimeter but about 250 metres short of the runway. </p> <p>Strong winds were reported at the time with gusts of up to 69 kilometres per hour, but visibility was said to be good, according to the independent US-based Flight Safety Foundation. </p> <p>The plane was reportedly in a holding position for about two hours and the crash happened more than two hours after its scheduled arrival time.</p> <p>The Rostov region’s emergency ministry said that the plane’s wing hit the ground on its second attempt to land and burst into flames.</p> <p>Some reports appeared to suggest the plane had been ascending before experiencing a sudden fall.</p> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FZ981?src=hash">#FZ981</a> 1st data shows a very low speed of 102 knots, then a steep climb to 4000ft before plummeting into the ground <a href="https://t.co/WeWj0Xjs9S">pic.twitter.com/WeWj0Xjs9S</a></p>— Flight-Report ✈ (@flight_report) <a href="https://twitter.com/flight_report/status/711115132043190273">19 March 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FZ981?src=hash">#FZ981</a> was climbing after a go-around when it suddenly started to fall with vertical speed of up to 21000 feet/min <a href="https://t.co/Ol6qmxLDZW">pic.twitter.com/Ol6qmxLDZW</a></p>— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) <a href="https://twitter.com/flightradar24/status/711087904366456832">19 March 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">BREAKING</span> Here are communications about weather between <span class="caps">ATC</span> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlyDubai?src=hash">#FlyDubai</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FZ981?src=hash">#FZ981</a> <a href="https://t.co/fvFuH8v8Wl">https://t.co/fvFuH8v8Wl</a> <a href="https://t.co/6Qv3KFsOvB">pic.twitter.com/6Qv3KFsOvB</a></p>— <span class="caps">AIRLIVE</span> (@airlivenet) <a href="https://twitter.com/airlivenet/status/711117724009799684">March 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FZ981?src=hash">#FZ981</a> performed a missed approach at ~22:43UTC then held for ~2hrs before attempting to land again ~00:41UTC <a href="https://t.co/tzDwAfKfNc">pic.twitter.com/tzDwAfKfNc</a></p>— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) <a href="https://twitter.com/flightradar24/status/711068136615841792">March 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <p>The Investigative Committee of Russia said there were no survivors among the 55 passengers and seven crew members.</p> <p>Flydubai said the passenger fatalities included 33 women, 18 men and four children. Their nationalities included 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbekistani.</p> <p>According to the Russian emergency ministry, there was one Russian among the seven crew members. As well as the Cypriot pilot and Spanish co-pilot, another crew member was Spanish, while the other three were from Seychelles, Colombia and Kyrgyzstan.</p> <p>The airline said <a href="https://www.facebook.com/flydubai/">in a series of updated statements</a> that everything was being done to help those affected.</p> <p>The disaster is the budget airline’s first since it began operating in 2009. The aircraft that crashed was just over five years old.</p> <br /> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">All of us at Boeing send our thoughts and prayers to those on board flydubai FZ981, their families & friends: <a href="https://t.co/eRSl9LKPED">https://t.co/eRSl9LKPED</a></p>— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) <a href="https://twitter.com/BoeingAirplanes/status/711052170901069824">19 mars 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I offer my condolences to the families of the passengers who lost their lives on board flight FZ981. This terrible tragedy grieves us all.</p>— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) <a href="https://twitter.com/HHShkMohd/status/711106463033380864">March 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br />