The Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don was rocked by a fiery and violent explosion early Saturday morning when a Boeing 737-800 operated by FlyDubai crashed into the local airport’s runway after several failed landing attempts. Following initial local and international news reports of the incident, CCTV footage of Flight 981’s crash and the resulting fireball went viral on YouTube and social media.
According to the Washington Post, Russian officials released a statement citing “poor weather conditions” at the Rostov-on-Don airport as a factor in the deadly crash, which occurred when the plane “hit the runway, began to break up, and burst into flames.” The resulting explosion killed all 62 people aboard the plane — including 55 passengers and the seven members of the FlyDubai flight crew.
Mashable reported that, per a Facebook post by FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith, the full plane manifest consisted of “33 women, 18 men and 4 children and 7 crew members of whom 5 were male and 2 were female.” As for the nationalities of the passengers on board, among their numbers were “44 Russians, 8 Ukrainians, 2 Indians and 1 Uzbekistani.” The CEO expressed his and the company’s condolences to the families of the dead, and noted that he was “personally leading our accident response with the support of the full management team.”
The Washington Post initially mentioned early concerns that the crash may have been the result of terrorism, but quickly shot down these concerns with statements from onsite investigators who cited inclement weather and high winds. The Rostov region’s governor, Vasily Golubev, went so far as to say that “in all likelihood, the cause of the air crash was heavy winds approaching hurricane-strength.”
A short video clip of the crash taken from a nearby CCTV camera was later released online. Per the 40-second video, you can see Flight 981 come into view four seconds in from the top left corner.