MOSCOW, March 19 - A Dubai airliner with 62 people on board nosedived and exploded in a giant fireball today while trying to land in strong winds in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all aboard, including two Indians, officials said.
Passengers killed in the crash include 2 Indians, 44 Russians, 8 Ukrainians and one from Uzbekistan. The Indians killed in the crash were identified as Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam.
Several planes had trouble landing at the airport at the time of the crash, with one trying to land three times before giving up and diverting to another airport, experts said.
Russia�s Emergencies Ministry said the Boeing 737-800 operated by FlyDubai was carrying 55 passengers, most of them Russians, and seven crew members.
FlyDubai confirmed there were no survivors and said four children were among those killed.
It was FlyDubai�s first crash since the budget carrier began operating in 2009. Its fleet consists of mint 737-800 aircraft like the one that crashed.
Closed-circuit TV footage showed the plane going down in a steep angle and exploding. The powerful explosion left a big crater in the runway and pulverized the plane but investigators quickly recovered both flight recorders.
The cause of the crash wasn�t immediately known, but officials and experts pointed at a sudden gust of wind as a possible reason.
�By all appearances, the cause of the air crash was the strongly gusting wind, approaching a hurricane level,� said Rostov regional Gov Vasily Golubev.
According to weather data reported by Russian state television, when the FlyDubai plane first tried to land, winds at ground level weren�t dangerously strong, but at an altitude of 500 metres and higher they reached a near-hurricane speed of around 30 metres per second. Later, when the plane crashed, winds near the surface reached 22 metres per second and could have been even stronger at altitude.
Several planes had landed in Rostov-on-Don shortly before the Dubai airliner was scheduled to touch down, but other flights later were diverted.
Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, told The Associated Press that the FlyDubai plane missed its approach, then entered a holding pattern, circling for about two hours before making another landing attempt.
It said a Russian Aeroflot plane scheduled to land around the same time made three landing attempts but then diverted to another airport. � AP