At least 62 passengers and crew have died after a FlyDubai plane crashed during an attempted landing in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Russian officials said.
A Russian investigative committee confirmed in a statement that all 62 people on board the plane, travelling from Dubai, were killed in the crash on Saturday morning.
"The aircraft hit the ground and broke into pieces," the Committee said in a statement on its website. "According to preliminary data, there were 55 passengers aboard and 7 crew members. They all died."
The plane was believed to be a Boeing 737 operated by Emirati airline FlyDubai, a budget airline with a new fleet of planes that started flying in mid-2009."We are aware of an incident involving our flight FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov On Don," a FlyDubai spokesman said in a statement Al Jazeera.
"We are investigating further details and will publish an update once more information is available."
The same statement later replaced the front page of the air carrier's website, with traffic to the regular booking page appearing to be temporarily blocked.
There was no immediate information on the cause, although some news reports suggested weather could have been a factor. Tass said weather data from the area indicated that winds were anywhere from 14 to 22 meters per second at the time of the crash and there was light rain.Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Moscow, said reports indicated the plane was in the air for about two hours in between making an initial attempt to land, and the second attempt, when the plane crashed.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region some 950km south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists the plane crashed about 250m short of the runway.
The plane's flight path, as tracked by Flight Radar 24, shows the plane made a number of turns near the Rostov-on-Don airport prior to the final attempted landing.
Flydubai is a low cost Dubai owned airline with 50, all US made Boeing 737 and flies regional routes. It has had a generally safe record and almost all pilots are non-Arab expatriates from Britain, US, Canada, Russia, Ukraine and Pakistan.
On 26 January 2015, a Flydubai Boeing 737-800 operating flight 215 from Dubai to Baghdad, was hit by small arms fire on approach to Baghdad International Airport with 154 passengers on board. The aircraft landed safely and no medical attention was needed at the airport.
On 19 March 2016, Flydubai Flight 981, a Boeing 737-800 operating from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don, crashed during go-around after an unsuccessful landing in bad weather at Rostov-on-Don Airport. All 55 passengers and 7 crew on board are reported to have died in the incident.
More information to follow - www.airambulancedubai.com