62 killed as Dubai airliner crashes in Russia
An airliner flying from Dubai has crashed while landing in strong winds in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 people on board, Russian officials said.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said the plane was carrying 55 passengers and seven crew members, and Igor Oder, head of the emergency ministry's southern regional operations, said all had been killed.
The Boeing 737-800 belonged to the budget carrier FlyDubai.
In a statement, the airline confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing.
"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," the airline said.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region 600 miles south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 800ft short of the runway. News reports said the plane caught fire after the crash.
The cause was not immediately determined, but Mr 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 30-50mph at the time and there was light rain.
Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, said the plane missed an approach then entered a holding pattern and tried to land again before contact was lost.
On October 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.
Russian news reports said most of those aboard were Russian tourists but there were unspecified foreigners aboard as well.
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 was 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.
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.
FlyDubai said: "While we are still awaiting final confirmation, it is with great sadness that we report we believe there are no survivors."
A statement said that of the 55 passengers on board, there were 33 women, 18 men and four children.
Russian investigators have found one of the plane's flight recorders.
Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the investigative committee, said experts have located the cockpit conversation recorder and are continuing to search for another one which records the parameters of the flight.