FlyDubai airliner crashed in Rostov killing all 62 people on board
Russian officials are warning an investigation could take weeks to determine the cause of the downing of FlyDubai flight 981. The airliner crashed in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don over the weekend as it tried to make a second landing. All 62 people on board lost their lives.
Local residents continue to pay their respects to the deceased, with hundreds gathering at the airport for a memorial service.
"I can't live through this tragedy peacefully, I know how frightful it is. I myself am a frequent passenger, anything can happen in planes. But what happened cannot be expressed with any words. I can't comprehend how the relatives of the victims will go on living. I don't know, it is a great grief. Now the whole world is expressing its condolences to us. But it is impossible to forget this", Rostov resident Marina says.
Under international aviation rules, the probe will be led by Russia's air safety investigation agency. Representatives from the United States, where the jet was made, and the United Arab Emirates, where the airline is based will also be involved. The initial search of the crash site has largely been completely. But fragments and bodies of the victims are scattered over a wide area.
"The main part of the search and rescue operation is complete, as the emergencies ministry reported. Now an additional search is underway on the territory for possible fragments and parts of the plane, some of which were thrown by 500 metres by the blast. So the search zone in this case will be slightly expanded", Maxim Sokolov, Rusiian Transport Minister says.
At FlyDubai headquarters meanwhile, the company says it is doing everything possible to ascertain the causes of the crash. It states hardship payments of USD 20,000 will be made to families of the victims. It did not cancel or delay any flights following the tragedy.
"We are aware that in the course of the last 24 hour, there has been a great deal of speculation as to the cause of this tragedy. We share the desire to get answer as quickly as possible but at this stage we must not be drawn into speculations. We would ask that the investigating authorities are given the time, space, they need to report definitely on the case of what happened in the accident", FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith says.
Russia's airline regulator says work has begun on the flight recorders recovered from the crash site. But they are badly damaged and could take up to a month to decode.