Moscow: All 62 people on board a flight from Dubai were killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames as it was landing in Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia, Saturday morning, a local official said.
"A Boeing 737 crashed as it was coming into land. There were 62 people on board. They are all dead," said a spokesman from the local ministry, quoted by the official TASS news agency.
In a statement, the budget carrier confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and said that there are fatalities.
There were 55 passengers and seven crew members on the plane, the official added. The accident happened at 0620 IST according to an official statement from the emergencies ministry.
"We are doing all we can to gather information as quickly as possible. At this moment our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and our crew who were on board the aircraft," the airline said.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region some 950 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 250 meters (800 feet) short of the runway. News reports said the plane caught fire after the crash.
Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, said that the plane missed approach then entered a holding pattern and tried to land again before contact was lost.
— RT (@RT_com) March 19, 2016
"The Boeing 737 on the Dubai to Rostov-on-Don route caught fire (after crashing)," said the statement, adding that the fire was brought under control by 0730 IST.
"We are aware of an incident involving our flight FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don. We are investigating further details and will publish an update once more information is available," the airline said in a post on its Facebook page.
Emirates-based Flydubai said it was aware of an "incident" involving one of its planes, but did not give any further details.
Flydubai is a budget airline launched in 2008 by the government of Dubai, the Gulf commercial hub that is part of the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation. Its first flight took to the skies in 2009.
It shares a chairman with Dubai's government-backed Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, though the two carriers operate independently and maintain separate operations from their bases at Dubai International Airport, the region's busiest airport.
Flydubai's fleet is dominated by relatively young 737-800 aircraft, the same model as the one that crashed. The airline says it operates more than 1,400 flights a week.
The airline has expanded rapidly in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. Dubai is a popular tourist destination for Russian visitors, who are attracted by its beaches, shopping malls and year-round sunshine. Like other nationalities, many Russian expatriates live and work in Dubai, a city where foreigners outnumber locals more than 4-to-1.
It has been flying to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don since 2013.
Flydubai has a good safety record. 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.
On October 31, a Russian airliner blew up in the air over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 aboard. Investigators determined it was destroyed by a bomb onboard....