By Lidia Kelly and Christian Lowe
MOSCOW, March 19 – Russian officials said on Saturday that all 61 people on board a passenger jet flying from Dubai to southern Russia were killed when their plane crashed as it tried to land.
Russia’s emergencies ministry said the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, crashed at 03:50 (0030 GMT) at the airport in Rostov-on-Don. Officials said there were 55 passengers and six crew on board the plane.
“Unfortunately, they all died,” Viktor Yanutsenko, an emergencies ministry official helping coordinate the emergency response, was quoted as saying by Russia’s RIA news agency.
Zhanna Terekohova, an advisor to the Russian transport minister, told state television possible causes of the crash included pilot error and poor weather conditions.
Local officials said at the time of the crash, there was strong, gusting wind in the Rostov area.
The aircraft had to abandon an initial attempt to land at Rostov, its scheduled destination, and came down while making a repeat attempt, according to an emergencies ministry statement.
The plane came down inside the airport’s perimeter, about 250 metres (yards) short of the start of the runway.
Grainy pictures from a security camera pointing towards the airport, which were broadcast on Russian television, showed a large explosion at ground level, with flames and sparks leaping high into the air.
Most of the passengers on board were Russian, the regional governor said on television.
“Three foreigners were on the passenger list of the plane, but that information needs checking” an emergencies ministry official said on Rossiya-24 news channel.
Flydubai said in a statement: “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,” said the carrier, which is owned by the Dubai government.