RUSSIAN PLANE CRASH: Over 60 People Reported Dead

planeThis is a tragic event. Prayers are with those who died and their loved ones. Terrorism is not suspected at this time.

An airliner carrying 61 people from Dubai crashed early Saturday while landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don in strong winds, killing all aboard, Russian officials said.

All 55 passengers and six crew members had died, Igor Oder, head of the Emergencies Ministry’s southern regional operations, said in a televised briefing.

The Boeing 737-800 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 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling local journalists that the plane crashed about 250 meters (800 feet) 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 meters per second (30-50 miles per hour) at the time of the crash and that there was light rain.

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