facebook
twitter
search
search

62 killed in Flydubai crash in Russia, poor weather or pilot error possibly to blame

By Daniel Uria   |   March 19, 2016 at 9:08 AM

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, March 19 (UPI) -- Investigators said poor weather or pilot error might be to blame in a Flydubai jet crash in Russia that left 55 passengers and seven crew members dead early Saturday.

Flydubai Flight 981 from Dubai to Russia crashed after it overshot the runway at Russia's Rostov-on-Don airport in strong side wind and rain at 3:50 a.m. local time. The Boeing 737 hit the ground and broke into pieces, officials said.

It was initially believed that all of the passengers were Russian nationals but a source in emergency services told TASS 46 Russians were killed in the crash. The remainder of the passengers were from various countries.

"The latest reports based on passengers' ID information, on board were 16 citizens of foreign countries, including 7 people from Ukraine, two from Spain and two more from India, one from Cyprus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Seychelles Islands," the source said.

Flydubai also stated four children were killed in the crash, along with 33 women and 18 men.

Officials believe bad weather, which delayed the plane's landing for several hours was the primary cause of the crash. Russia's Emergencies Ministry said investigators are also looking into two other potential causes.

"Different versions of the incident are being investigated, including crew error, technical failure, bad weather and other factors," Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, according to CNN.

The Telegraph reported another plane aborted three attempts to land before deciding to move to another airport. Experienced airline pilot and managing director of Tyrus Wings said pilot fatigue may have contributed to the decision to attempt a landing.

"The fact two captains were flying together leads me to believe one of them was probably called out off standby. Being on standby on a night shift is really difficult because you really never know if and when they will call you for a flight," he said.

Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said there was no distress call before the crash and the plane had passed a "C-Check" on Jan. 21.

The airport was closed as more than 700 people took place in the rescue operation. Both of the plane's flight data recorders and a voice recorder were found in the wreckage.

Sunday was declared a day of mourning in Rostov. The families of the crash victims will reportedly receive about $15,000 from the government.

Dubai's government also offered a message of condolence via their Twitter account.

"UAE offers its deepest condolences to the families of the victims & to the Russian government & people for the tragic accident of Flydubai," they wrote.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines