The FlyDubai Boeing-737-800 en route from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don crashed at the city's airport at around 3:40 AM Moscow time (00:40 AM GMT) Saturday after missing the runway amid poor visibility and bad weather conditions. All 62 people on board including 55 passengers and seven crew members died in the accident.
Currently, the Russian Investigative Committee is considering three main versions of the crash: poor weather conditions, technical fault and human error.
"Different versions of the incident are being investigated, including crew error, technical failure, bad weather and other factors," Investigative Committee head Vladimir Markin said.
According to the Investigative Committee, the crew failed to land the plane during the first attempt and spent over two hours flying around the airport hoping to find a good moment for another takedown. Finally, the plane went for the second landing attempt during which it crashed.
Poor Weather Conditions
"The fact that the plane was circling around the area for two hours while other planes left to other airports suggests that the wind was very strong," Moskvichev explained.
The Dubai Aviation Corporation [which trades as FlyDubai] thinks the weather conditions played no part in the crash.
"If the weather was unsuitable then the plane wouldn't have flown [to Rostov-on-Don]," FlyDubai CEO Geit Al Geit said.
The aviation expert suggested that the crew captain was probably asked to fly away and land on a reserve airport, as it's a common practice in aviation.
"If a pilot realizes that the weather conditions are such that he won't be able to make a landing, an airport air communicator always offers an alternative landing spot, especially if the plane was flying above the airport for two hours. There can't be any accusation against airport personnel. A decision to land is made by the captain," Gusarov explained.
Boeing said it would provide Russian investigators with technical consultations.
"Under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board, Boeing is launching a team and will serve as technical advisor to the investigating authority in charge, the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee," the company said in a statement.
Black Boxes Found
The investigation into the Boeing crash is expected to take two months, according to Oksana Kovrizhnaya, a spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee.
"The terms of the investigations are set by [Russia's] criminal code — two months. But they could be prolonged because of the inspections' duration," Kovrizhnaya said.
Flight recorders [black boxes] from the FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 have been found and are in good condition.
As of now the main phase of the search operation at the scene of the plane crash has finished. All the victims' bodies were collected and sent for a forensic analysis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of all the victims. Sunday has been declared a day of mourning across Russia.