61 Killed In Plane Crash In Southern Russia: Official

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March 19: All 61 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, on Saturday morning, a local official said.

“A Boeing 737 crashed as it was coming into land. There were 61 people on board. They are all dead,” said a spokesman from the local ministry, quoted by the official TASS news agency.

There were 55 passengers and six crew members on the plane, the official added.

The accident happened at 0050 GMT, according to an official statement from the emergencies ministry.

“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 0200 GMT.

Emirates-based Flydubai said it was aware of an “incident” involving one of its planes, but did not give any further details.

“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.

State news agency Tass reported that the Investigative Committee, the country’s top investigative agency, said preliminary information indicates the plane was landing when it hit the ground and broke into pieces at the airport about 950 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow.

There was no immediate information on the cause, although some news reports suggested weather could have been a factor. There was rain and winds of about 11 meter per second (25 mph) at the time of the crash.

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.

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