2 Indians among 62 killed in Russian FlyDubai air crash

Two Indians are among 62 killed in a FlyDubai plane crash at Rostov-on-Don airport in southern Russia this morning, according to the list of victims put out by Russian authorities.

 The names of the Indians are Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

"Our mission is checking with the local university and Indian nationals for confirmation," he said.

All 62 people, including seven crew members on board a flight from Dubai were killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames as it was landing in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday morning.

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

State news agency Tass reported that the Investigative Committee said preliminary information indicates the plane was landing when it hit the ground and broke into pieces at the airport about 950 kilometers south of Moscow.

"We are currently contacting relatives of the passengers and crew who were on board and we are offering any help we can to those affected," said the airline statement.

The plane belonged to the budget carrier FlyDubai.

In a statement, the budget carrier confirmed that flight FZ981 crashed on landing and said that there are fatalities.

"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 kilometres south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 250 metres short of the runway. News reports said the plane caught fire after the crash.

The cause of the crash was not immediately determined, but Golubev said, "By all appearances, the cause of the air crash was the strongly gusting wind, approaching a hurricane level."

State news agency Tass said weather data from the area indicated that winds were anywhere from 14 to 22 metres per second at the time of the crash and that there was light rain.

Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, told AP that the plane missed approach then entered a holding pattern and tried to land again before contact was lost.

On 31 October, 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.

Young plane, good record
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, West Asia'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 four-to-one.

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.

(See: FlyDubai plane crashes in Russia, all 62 on board killed)