FlyDubai confirms crash of passenger jet

[Peter Paul Media] — FlyDubai confirmed Saturday the fatalities of 55 passengers and seven crew members after a Boeing 737-800 passenger jet crashed while trying to land in southwest Russia.

The nationalities of the passengers on board include 44 Russians, 8 Ukrainians, 2 Indians and 1 Uzbekistani. “We are currently contacting relatives of the passengers and crew who were on board and we are offering any help we can to those affected,” the airline said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said there were 17 foreigners on board flight 981, including 11 passengers and six of the crew members. A passenger manifest released in the hours after the disaster shows that 55 passengers and seven crew members, boarded the fight in Dubai.

CEO Ghaith al Ghaith and the full management team is leading the response to the accident, the email said. “At this stage the focus of our efforts is on establishing the facts around the incident and providing all possible support to the authorities.”

In a press conference, he said that it is still to early to determine the cause of the crash. Both flight data recorders have been recovered at the crash site, officials revealed.

Flight FZ981 was flying between Dubai International and Rostov on Don, Russia, when it went down while making a second attempt at landing in heavy wind and rain, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said.

At press time, the airport was still closed due to adverse weather conditions, expect to the relatives of the victims making their way to the crash site. “At the moment airports of the Rostov Region do not receive planes, because of bad weather conditions – heavy wind.”

Footage from a nearby security camera captured the final moments of the flight, which crashed after suddenly going into a 21,000 feet per minute descent, according to data provided by Flightradar24. Radar data shows Fight 981 in a holding pattern as the flight crew waited for the weather to clear up.

The jets manufacturer Boeing said they would provide all the technical assistance required while offering their thoughts and prayers. “Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance upon the request of government agencies conducting the investigation,” a statement said.