A Boeing commercial airplane operated by the budget airline flydubai crashed in southern Russia on Saturday. The plane crash killed all 62 passengers and crew as the pilot attempted to land in poor weather.
The Boeing 737, which was on its way from Dubai to the Russian city Rostov-on-Don had been circling for several hours before making a landing attempt.
The pilot reportedly missed the runway and crashed causing the plane to erupt into a humongous fireball.
One eyewitness said that:
“My whole house shook. I looked out into the yard and the sky was all red — it was a shade of red that I have never seen,”
The Russian Investigative Committee later confirmed that all 55 passengers and the seven other crew members were killed in the crash.
The crash immediately launched a probe to discover if pilot error, bad weather, or plane problems were the cause of crash.
The chairmen of flydubai said:
“We do not yet know all the details of the incident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish precisely what happened,”
The budget airliner is a sister firm of Emirates Airlines and was setup as a government-owned airline back in 2008.
The company has said the Cypriot pilot and his Spanish co-pilot both had almost 6,000 hours of flying experience.
At the terminal in Rostov-on-Don airport, local residents, families, and many others joined in to lay flowers in front of the plane crash victims.
One relative said:
“I turned on the news and for some reason thought it was a terrorist attack but it turned out to have been here right at the airport. My brother was fifteen years older than me. He was a succesful surgeon in the local hospital. It is such a loss.”
Footage of the plane crash has been scoured across local media showing the fireball seemingly engulf the sky. The blaze took authorities over an hour to put out.
The planes investigators said that the planes two black boxes, which hold the answers to the plane crash, had been recovered.
After the plane smashed into the ground, pieces of the planes became scattered up to a mile away from the initial crash site.
The weather had been poor as rain and strong wind warning were both in effect at the time of the plane crash.
Russian’s head of aviation said the the safety of the runway nor the conidiotns of the airports facilities at Rostov-on-Don had any effect on the plane crash. He also said that the air traffic controllers were not to be blamed for the accident.
Alexandr Neradko said:
“In accordance with international flight rules the captain of the aircraft takes the decision to land,”
Future flights were diverted 180 miles south of Rostov-on-Don and the airport will remain closed until after Monday.
A criminal investigation was later launched to determine if the government owned airline was negligent in following safety regulations and maintenance requirements.
The spokesman for the investigation committee Vladimir Markin said:
“Different versions for what happened are being worked through, among them a mistake made by the crew of the plane, a technical problem onboard, difficult weather conditions and other factors,”
The low-cost airline has had a long time safety record even though one of its planes was struck by a bullet when it had landed at a Bahgdad airport in January of 2015, which prompted multiple companies to suspend flights to the Iraq capital.
Russian airports have a very poor history of safety including a 2014 private jet crash in Moscow that killed Total oil boss Christophe de Margerie. The total oil disaster is just one of many in recent history for Russian airports.
A major aviation tragedy hit Russia last October when a passenger jet from an Egyptian resort was taken down by a bomb in the Sinai Peninsula. In the attack, all 224 on board were killed and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The plane crash caused Moscow to stop flying to Egypt, which cut off one of Russian’s most popular destinations. Moscow has also cut ties with tours to Turkey after a jet was shot down in Syria last November.
Moscow has also banned the sale of package tours to Turkey after Ankara shot down one of its jets in Syria in November.