Two Indians among 62 killed as FlyDubai plane crashes in Russia (Afternoon Lead)

Moscow, March 19 (IANS) At least 62 people including two Indian nationals were killed on Saturday when a passenger jet crashed while attempting to land in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don city, media reports said.

The FlyDubai Boeing 737-800, coming from Dubai, missed the runway as it attempted to land at 3.50 a.m.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup said the two Indians that appear on a list put out by the Russian authorities are Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam.

According to Flydubai — an Emirati budget airline with a new fleet of planes that started flying in mid-2009 — the jet was carrying 55 passengers — 33 women, 18 men, four children — and seven crew members, CNN reported.

“The nationalities of the deceased passengers include 44 Russians, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbekistani,” it said.

Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “We don’t yet know all the details of the accident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish the cause. We are making every effort to care for those affected and will provide assistance to the loved ones of those on board.”

The airport will remain closed until Sunday, and medics and psychologists are on standby to assist family members, the emergencies ministry said.

About 700 people are involved in the rescue operation. The crash site is 243 metres from the airport runway, it said.

The ministry said investigators had ruled out terrorism as a cause of the crash at this stage and weather conditions were most-likely responsible.

The plane’s pilot circled the airport, waiting for the weather to clear before making a second attempt to land, but the aircraft’s tail had clipped the runway, it said.

“The aircraft hit the ground and broke into pieces,” the Investigative Committee of Russia said on its website.

Russian state media reported winds of 97 kph at the time of the crash. A storm warning was declared in Rostov-on-Don on Friday.

The plane’s flight path, as tracked by Flight Radar 24, showed the plane made a number of turns near the Rostov-on-Don airport prior to the final landing.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched an investigation, and is considering three potential causes, state-run Ria Novosti news agency reported.

“Different versions of the incident are being investigated, including crew error, technical failure, bad weather and other factors,” it quoted committee chief Vladimir Markin as saying.

Emergency staff have found one of the plane’s two flight recorders and were searching for the second.

The Russian government has announced a compensation of one million rubles ($15,000) to the families.

Sunday has been declared a day of mourning in the Rostov region.

–Indo-Asian News Servicve


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