Tragedy has once again struck the airline industry. FlyDubai flight FZ981 from Dubai crashed in Rustov-on-Don, Russia early this morning at 03:50 local time (BBC). The aircraft crashed just 800 feet short of the runway, killing all 62 people on board (CNN). A nearby CCTV video captured a large explosion that was caused by the crash. The aircraft shattered into pieces upon impact. While the cause of the crash is not yet known, some suspect weather may have had a part to play in the crash. Winds were measured at 60 mph at the time of the crash. The pilot made at least three circles over the airport before trying to land. Some others speculate that disorientation may have had a role in the crash. However, both pilots were “very experienced.”
Flydubai is a budget airline based in Dubai. They fly to more than 90 destinations that include the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Their fleet consists of over 45 “brand new” Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
This is the second Russian airliner tragedy in the past five months. On November 19, 2015, a Metrojet flight was brought down over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by a small bomb claimed by ISIS (NBC). While authorities have ruled out the involvement of terrorists in today’s FlyDubai crash, investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of Flydubai made a statement regarding the incident on the company’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.”
The aircraft’s flight data recorders and one voice recorder were retrieved at the crash site. Investigators continue to try to determine the cause of the crash.