FlyDubai flight FZ981’s black box found, says Russian ambassador

One of FlyDubai flight FZ981’s two “black box” data-recorders has been found, the Russian ambassador to the UAE said.

Alexander Efimov said the discovery would help investigators determine what went wrong during the plane’s crash landing in the early hours of Saturday in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

“The investigation will be absolutely transparent and, as far as I know, one of the black boxes was found, so it will help us to realise the reasons of this crash,” he said.

“For the moment the most probable reason is terrible weather conditions with very strong wind and rain.

“We should not make any conclusion before the investigation but what we know is that the weather conditions were awful, and some other planes did not dare to make a landing and they landed in other airports in other cities around.”

Igor Egarov, a board member of the Russian Business Council in the UAE, said the 55 passengers who died were mainly tourists.

“The flight mostly had families visiting Dubai,” he said. “But the incident is not expected to affect tourism because this was an accident due to, so far we know, bad weather. The Russian community here is shocked. We had a special service at 2pm at the Russian Orthodox Church in Sharjah today.”

Aleksander Zarkeshev, the rector of the Russian Orthodox Church Archimandrite, held a service for the victims on Saturday, and a memorial will be held on Sunday at 10am.

Jurgen Gasiecki, social and charity service manager at the church, said: “We are saddened of the news of the airplane and the loss of lives.

“We held a remembering service today, and another one will be held tomorrow, as well as on the 3rd day, 9th and 40th day after the crash.”

Mr Efimov said his embassy was working with authorities in Dubai.

“Our general consulate in Dubai is in constant touch with the Russian authorities from the beginning and with the Emirati authorities and FlyDubai and Ministry of Transport in Russia and all the others concerned,” he said.

“Now, a team from UAE aviation authorities and FlyDubai have left for Krasnodar, which is near Rostov-on-Don. They will be taken to Rostov-on-Dov by cars or helicopters. They will take part in the investigation alongside the Russian experts. Also, some relatives who are in Dubai, all of whom are eager to get to Rostov-on-Don will be taken there free of charge by FlyDubai.

“We don’t know exactly how many residents from Dubai are there but there are no Emiratis. There are some residents of Dubai.

“We will be in touch with all the embassies and consulates of all the nationalities who are the victims.

“We are grateful to the Emirati aviation authorities and FlyDubai that we are, from the beginning, working in close coordination and they are assisting us as far they can. They will get any support from Russia and they will take part in this investigation.

“I, as ambassador, all the embassy’s staff and the general consulate express our sincere and deepest condolences to all the relatives and friends of all the victims of this tragedy. A lot of people from many countries have died and we express our deepest condolences.”

The airplane crashed after repeated landing attempts.

In Russia, the governor of the Rostov region, Vasily Golubev was quoted by Russian news agencies as sayingthe 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 Mr Golubev said: “By all appearances, the cause of the air crash was the strongly gusting wind, approaching a hurricane level.”

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