As I discussed on television and radio early this morning. An aircraft (Flight FZ981) carrying 62 people from Dubai crashed early Saturday while attempting a hard landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don during reportedly adverse weather - strong winds, killing all aboard, Russian officials confirmed in a statement.
A NEW amateur video taken head on shows the aircraft well alight prior to contact with the ground and seemingly at a 50% degree angle. Although the authorities are blaming the weather, the newly released video now suggests an explosion or some form of catastrophic event, on board, so terrorist activity cannot be 100% ruled out.
A passenger and crew list published by the Emergencies Ministry showed the Boeing 737-800 was carrying 55 passengers and seven crew members. Igor Oder, head of the Emergencies Ministry's southern regional operations, confirmed that none survived the incident, all had been killed.
The plane was operated and owned by the budget carrier FlyDubai.
The airline confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing, and said that there are fatalities.
Russian news reports said the majority of those aboard were Russian tourists but there were some unspecified foreigners aboard as well.
The airline is well regarded, FlyDubai, a budget carrier launched in 2008 and funded by the government of Dubai, part of the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation.
FlyDubai shares a chairman with Dubai's government-backed Emirates, however the two carriers operate independently and maintain separate operations from their bases at Dubai International Airport.
FlyDubai has a young 737-800 aircraft, (circa 190 seats) and operates more than 1,400 flights a week. Expansion within Russia has been rapid.
Dubai is a popular tourist and work destination for Russian visitors, attracted by its beaches, shopping malls and year-round sunshine. Many Russian expatriates live and work in Dubai - foreigners outnumber locals by four-to-one.
FlyDubai has a good safety record. However, In January 2015, one of its planes was struck on the fuselage by what appeared to small-arms fire shortly before it landed in Baghdad. That flight landed safely with no major injuries reported.
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