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Sat 19 Mar 2016 12:47 PM

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'We are all in deep shock,' says flydubai CEO after Russian crash

Ghaith Al Ghaith says airline is working closely with authorities to establish the cause of a crash that killed 62 people

'We are all in deep shock,' says flydubai CEO after Russian crash
Russian emergency rescuers and forensic investigators work on the wreckage of the flydubai passenger jet which crashed, killing all 62 people on board as it tried to land in bad weather in the city of Rostov-on-Don. (Getty Images)

The CEO of low cost carrier flydubai on Saturday said the airline is working closely with authorities to establish the cause of a crash that killed 62 people at a Russian airport.

All 62 people aboard a passenger jet flying from Dubai to southern Russia were killed when their plane crashed on its second attempt to land at Rostov-on-Don airport on Saturday.

Speaking about the incident, flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: "Our primary concern is for the families of the passengers and crew who were on board. Everyone at flydubai is in deep shock and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those involved.

"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."

flydubai added in a statement: "While we are still awaiting final confirmation, it is with great sadness that we report we believe there are no survivors. We are unable to provide more specific details at this moment but we will provide updates as soon as we possibly can.

"At this moment our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our passengers and crew who were on board the aircraft. We are working with the local emergency services and other agencies who are at the scene.

flydubai said it is in the process of verifying the passenger list however preliminary numbers indicate 55 passengers including 33 women, 18 men and 4 children and 7 crew on board on the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The aircraft had departed Dubai International (DXB) at 18.20pm GMT on Friday and was due to arrive that evening at 22.40pm GMT.

flydubai said it has activated family reception centres for relatives of passengers and has issued the following numbers for relatives to call: +44 203 450 8853 (UK); +971 (0) 42934100 (UAE)

The Investigative Committee of Russia said on Saturday that it is looking into a pilot error or a technical failure as the most likely causes for the plane crash, Russian news agencies reported.

"At present, we are looking into two main theories for the plane crash in Rostov-on-Don: pilot error in connection with deteriorating weather conditions or a technical error," Interfax news agency cited a representative of the Committee, Oksana Kovrizhnaya, as saying.

The region's governor, Vasily Golubev, said bad weather - strong, gusting wind in the Rostov area - was the primary line of investigation for the crash, but Zhanna Terekohova, an adviser to the Russian transport minister, said pilot error could also be a factor.

The plane came down inside the airport's perimeter, about 250 metres (yards) short of the start of the runway.

Grainy pictures from a security camera pointing towards the airport, which were broadcast on Russian television, showed a large explosion at ground level, with flames and sparks leaping high into the air.

A representative of Rostov's emergency ministry said at a briefing that flight recorders have not yet been recovered.

"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," Flydubai said in a statement.

"We will do everything we can to help those who have been affected by this accident," said the carrier, which is owned by the Dubai government.

Six of the crew were non-Russians, Russian emergency ministry said in a statement on it website, but it did not reveal the citizenship of the crew or passengers aboard.

Governor Golubev said on state television that there were seven children aboard.

* With Reuters

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