All 62 people, including 2 Indians, on board a flydubai Boeing 737 were killed when the plane crashed as it was landing in Rostov-on-Don, in Southern Russia on Saturday morning.
The plane was making its second attempt to land in bad weather when it missed the runway, erupting in a huge fireball as it crashed.
“Flydubai regrets to confirm that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and that fatalities have been confirmed as a result of this tragic accident,” the airline said on its Facebook page.
Russian investigators confirmed that all 62 people on board were killed, raising the initial toll by one.
“According to the initial information, there were 55 passengers and seven crew members on board. They are all dead,” investigators said.
Two Indians were among the sixty-two people killed in the crash. There were 44 Russians, 8 Ukrainian nationals and one Uzbekistan national were on board when the plane crashed.
The names of the Indians in the list put out by Russian authorities are: Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
“Our mission is checking with the local university and Indian nationals for confirmation,” he said.
Footage shown on local media showed the plane bursting into flames. The authorities took more than an hour to get the blaze under control, the emergencies ministry said.
More than 500 rescuers and 60 vehicles were dispatched to the crash site, the ministry added.
“The plane skimmed the ground and broke into several pieces,” the investigators said, and LifeNews reported that fragments of the Boeing 737 were scattered up to 1.5 kilometres from the crash site.
A strong wind warning was in place and it was raining hard at the time of the crash, and according to LifeNews, the plane had been circling the area trying to land for two hours because of the poor weather.
Other flights had been diverted to Krasnodar airport, 300 kilometres south of Rostov-on-Don.
“The weather conditions were terrible, the plane was shaking terribly,” a passenger on one of the diverted flights told LifeNews.
A criminal investigation into the accident has been launched to determine whether any safety regulations were violated and if negligence played any part in the crash.
“A possible pilot error” was among the possible causes of the crash being examined, Jeanna Terekhova, an advisor to the Russian transport ministry, told news channel Russia 24.
“We are putting our emergency response in place and we will be working closely with all the authorities involved. We will share as much information as possible just as soon as we can and we will provide updated information on a regular basis,” Emirates-based flydubai said in a statement on its website, which had been changed to a sombre black and grey colour scheme.
(With inputs from PTI)