FlyDubai Crashes in Rostov-on-Don as Wind Gusts Reach 50 Miles per Hour (Updated)

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March 19, 2016


Translated by Kristina Kharlova

A high wind warning was declared in Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

MOSCOW, March 19/TASS/.  At the time of Boeing 737-800 FlyDubai crash, wind gusts reached 22 meters/sec [50 miles/hour]  in Rostov-on-Don, with light rain, according to archive weather reports.

At 03.42 Moscow time (the time of the crash) weather conditions were difficult in Rostov-on-Don. There was a strong South-West wind at speeds of 30 miles/hour and gusts up to 43 miles/hour. Maximum wind speed recorded at the time of the accident was 50 miles/hour. There was light rain. The height of the lower border of clouds was 540 m, horizontal visibility – 6 km.

A storm warning was declared in Rostov-on-Don on Friday night. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation, a Boeing 737-800, performing flight FZ 981 from Dubai crashed during the second landing attempt at Rostov-on-Don airport. There were 61 people on board. According to preliminary data, there were no survivors.

Among the victims was Rostov region deputy Igor Pakus and his wife, as well as the wife and daughter of the head of Azov district of Rostov region.

Two flights that were to land in Rostov-on-Don on the night of March 19, diverted to Krasnodar due to poor weather conditions. In addition, one flight returned to the departure airport to Istanbul, as evidenced by

“Aeroflot” flights from Sheremetyevo (SU 1166) and “Czech airlines” from Prague (OK 914) that were supposed to land in Rostov-on-Don at 2:15 and 3:25 Moscow time respectively, diverted to Krasnodar. Turkish airlines flight from Istanbul, which was to land at 3:55 Moscow time, returned to the departure airport.

According to Russia24 the plane circled around the airport for two hours about 10 times waiting for better weather conditions before attempting the second landing. A resulting fuel shortage is considered among the theories.

Although Boeing 737-800 capacity is 189 passengers, FlyDubai was carrying only 55 passengers, because ticket prices of about 20 thousand roubles were high for an average Rostov resident, according to one reporter. 

Some Russian aviation analysts speculated that the UAE pilots were not accustomed to local weather conditions.

Relatives of the victims will receive one million roubles compensation, according to the governor of Rostov region.

Traffic load on Rostov airport has increased since the nearby Donetsk airport has been destroyed in Donbass fighting.

Russia24: Rostov-on-Don wind map on March 19, 2016

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